Dietitian Kayla Womeldorff with Harmons, tells us how to fuel our next workout.
From herbal supplements, to pre-workout 'energy intensifiers' and protein powders, athletes are always looking to gain an edge. But what if the secret to improving your performance is as simple as the food you eat?
There are two keys that can help you unlock your best performance - during workouts and life!
1. Staying well hydrated
2. Preventing low blood sugar
Preventing Dehydration: By the time the brain signals thirst, you have already lost 1% or more of body weight. Your heart rate increases 3-5 beats per minute for every 1% body weight you lose, making exercise feel harder and making you pedal slower. Dehydration can also impact your mood - in one study, dehydration of just 1-2% increased feelings of irritability, particularly in women.
• As a general rule, drink 9 oz., or roughly 8 gulps, every 15-20 minutes during exercise. This comes out to about 1 liter per hour.
• If you`re exercising intensely for longer than one hour, sports drinks are a good idea to help replenish carbohydrates and the electrolytes you lose in sweat. For casual exercisers and typical gym goers, a sports drink is unnecessary and water is a better choice. (You`ll replenish your carbohydrates and electrolytes at your next meal or snack).
• What about coconut water? - Coconut water shouldn`t be consumed by itself as a sports beverage since it doesn`t contain sufficient sodium, the main electrolyte lost in sweat. If you want to use coconut water for hydration after an hour or more of intense exercise, make sure you add a bit of salt first. For casual exercisers, plain water is the best source of hydration
Preventing Low Blood Sugar: Because your brain controls your muscles and your ability to concentrate on a task, you will ride better and have more fun if your brain is well fed. The brain and muscles rely on glucose for fuel. Glucose comes from carbohydrates you consume and from carbohydrates stored in your liver. You need to appropriately fuel prior to, and during the ride to stay sharp and feel good.
Keeping blood sugar levels stable is also important during daily life, as studies show that low blood sugar can cause mood disturbances - also known as being hangry!
• For rides lasting longer than 1 hour, consume a little bit of carbohydrate every 15-20 min throughout the duration of the ride, rather than waiting until you are hungry.
• If you`re exercising for less than an hour, consuming food during a workout isn`t practical or necessary. Instead, plan your snacks around your workout to keep your blood sugar levels steady without adding additional calories your body doesn`t need.
• For casual exercisers, a pre-workout snack with a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and
a little fat can keep you well fueled.
Power Bomb Energy Bites
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted and chopped
½ cup dry powdered milk
½ cup dry tart cherries, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup brown rice, cooked and cooled
½ cup almond butter
½ cup liquid sweetener, such as brown rice syrup or honey
1 cup dry instant oatmeal
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup white whole wheat flour
Few drops of vanilla extract
½ cup flax seeds, toasted and ground
Combine all ingredients except flax seeds. Mix until incorporated. Using a one-ounce ice cream scoop, scoop out one ounce balls and roll them in the flax seed. Store in an airtight container.
• 2016 marks the 17th year Harmons has teamed up with the Utah-Southern Idaho Chapter of the National MS Society for fundraising efforts.
o We`re grilling up Harmons brats in stores every Friday and Saturday throughout June. For $5 customers get a delicious bratwurst or hotdog, bag of chips, drink and a delicious snickerdoodle cookie. It`s the best meal in town and proceeds will benefit the Utah-Southern Idaho Chapter of the National MS Society.
o You can also make a donation to Bike MS at every check stand.
o Bike enthusiasts can still sign up for the 30th annual Bike MS: Harmons Best Dam Bike Ride taking place June 25th and 26th. The ride brings over 1,000 cyclists from all over the state and surrounding areas together with a goal to raise over $1.5 million dollars for the MS Society. Find out more and sign up for the ride at bikeMSutah.org.