Part 2 “During” or “Intra” Workout Nutrition
The need to fuel during your workout is dependent on both duration of exercise and your personal health and fitness goals. It is always best when nutrition recommendations can be specific to your training and goals, but we have compiled general guidelines that athletes of all levels can benefit from when it comes to fueling during a workout.
Should you be fueling during your workout?
Once again, carbs steal the show here. They are the preferred fuel source for working muscles. We store carbohydrates in the form of glycogen in our muscles and liver. When this stored energy runs out, we get tired and as a result our exercise performance is impaired. However, it takes about 45 minutes of exercising continuously to actually deplete these energy stores, so fueling mid-workout is not necessary unless your workout will last longer than that.
In short, it is not necessary nor practical to fuel during a workout that is less than 45 minutes.
This means, for the average CrossFitter, there is no need to fuel during a workout. Especially if you follow the P&G pre-workout nutrition guidelines discussed last week, you will have plenty of energy for a one hour CrossFit class (a session that includes a warm-up, stretching, strength session, catching up with your gym mates and then a 6-30 minute metcon).
If your workout/training session is going to last more than 45 minutes of continuous endurance, intermittent, or high-intensity exercise (yes, this includes weightlifting), small amounts of sports drinks or high carbohydrate food may beneficial for performance, starting 30 minutes into your workout. Recommendation is approximately 15 grams of a quick digesting carbohydrate source.
15 grams = ½ small banana, 4 oz. apple sauce (1 packet Santa Cruz Organic applesauce), 12 oz. coconut water (mason Jar is approximately 12 oz.), or 2 tablespoons Raisins.
If your workout/training session includes 1-2.5 hours or more of continuous endurance, intermittent, or high-intensity exercise, recommendation is approximately 30-60 grams carbs/hour of work (dependent on age, gender, and weight).
30 grams = 16 oz. Gatorade, 1 cup applesauce, 1 small banana, ¼ cup raisins, or ⅓ cup dried mangos.
As your workout duration increases, the amount of carbohydrates needed during the workout increases.
If working out for longer than 2.5 hours is a part of your training schedule you may need more individualized recommendations to optimize performance.
Consuming a small amount of carbohydrate can enhance performance when duration of exercise exceeds 45 minutes. Follow pre-workout recommendations for workouts lasting less than 45 minutes. Carbohydrate needs are dependent on age, weight, height, body composition, and activity level.
Next week – Part 3 – Recovery Nutrition and Timing