At Fleet Feet, we're all about fit. From shoes and inserts to sports bras and accessories, we are committed to finding the best combination of equipment and education to make you as prepared as possible to reach your fitness and competition goals, and the nutrition is an integral part of that goal.
You may have noticed the plethora of gels, bars, mixes, gummies, and other goodies at Fleet Feet's checkout counter. You may not, however, know much about how they can help you or why you should give them any attention.
There are three times you need to consider nutrition items: before, during, and after exercise.
BEFORE, hydration is key. Drink plenty of water, even if it's cold. Improper hydration is one of the biggest causes of running injuries, especially dealing with your muscles.
Secondly, make sure your body has carbohydrates 90 to 120 minutes before exercise. Energy bars, energy chews, and fruit are examples of good pre-workout snacks: high in carbs and light on your stomach.
Check these out: Nuun tablets, GU Brew tablets, GU gels, Clif shots
DURING, A good rule of thumb is to have something every 45 minutes to an hour. Gel, chew, waffle, or other food, it’s up to you and your needs and preferences. Honey Stinger and Clif have organic options that will be easy on an untested stomach, and AccelGel is an carb-and-protein option for those who don't handle pure carbs well. Continuing hydration through your run or exercise is necessary, replacing the water and electrolytes lost through sweat, even when it's cold. This also helps your body access the energy in the gels. You can carry a bottle, wear a belt, or find a working fountain, but get some water. Electrolytes are ideal for longer runs, but that term is defined by you. Nuun and GU have tasty tablets that dissolve into your water. Gatorade Endurance formula and Accelerade are smart sports drink options. For hot weather and heavy sweaters, Gatorlytes and Endurolytes are go-to's for electrolyte replenishment.
Check these out: Nuun & GU Brew tablets, Accelerade & GU gels, Clif shots
AFTER, your body needs protein to replenish its stores and to fuel muscle growth and recovery. Protein powder to mix with milk or water is a great option. Don't forget electrolytes via dissolvable tablets, mixes, or sports drinks.
Check these out: Hammer Recoverite, Nuun tablets, GU Brew tablets
So, basically: fuel up with carbs 90 to 120 minutes before; top off the tank at least once per hour; replenish protein and electrolytes after; and hydrate more than you think you should.
Now go out there and punch that laziness in the face!
About the author: Alex McCandless joined the staff at Fleet Feet Knoxville in August as a FIT specialist and a No Boundaries and Next Steps training groups coach. He recently graduated from the University of Tennessee, where he was a varsity letterman on the cross country and track teams.