Photographer: G Monkie (CC)
As you are probably aware, commercial versions of many sport nutrition products are not always the healthiest option. Commonly packed with artificial flavours, refined carbohydrates, denatured proteins and sometimes even harmful fats, I certainly don’t want to consume anything that doesn’t put overall health first.While some commercial options are not as bad as they once were, I like to know exactly what goes into mine and keep them completely natural.
I make my own.
Whole food energy bars, sport drinks, energy gels, energy pudding, post-workout recovery drink, whole food meal replacement smoothies and even performance pancakes are all part of my specific sport nutrition program.
Immediately before exercise
The body’s first choice for fuel during intense exercise is simple carbohydrates. However, once the body has burned all the simple carbohydrates available, it will then opt for available complex carbohydrates. It’s in the athlete’s best interest to ensure that the body is provided with enough simple carbohydrates to fuel activity so that complex carbohydrates are not relied upon. If the body has to resort to burning complex carbohydrates while exercising at a high intensity, it will have to use extra energy in order to convert the complex carbs into simple carbs. Additionally, if too much protein is eaten before intense exercise, it will likely cause muscle cramping due to the fact that it requires more fluid to be metabolized than carbohydrate or fat does.
Also, protein is not what you want your body burning for fuel. Protein is for rebuilding muscle post-activity, not fuelling it. When too much protein is consumed in place of carbohydrates immediately before exercise — and therefore burned as fuel — it burns “dirty,” meaning that toxins are created as a result of its combustion. The production and elimination of toxins is of course a stress on the body, and as such causes a stress response. Ultimately endurance will decline.