Food and fitness go hand-in-hand. Healthy food helps fuel our bodies, giving us the energy to enjoy our favourite physical activities. They also help us keep our stamina and endurance up during these activities, and aid us in recovery after. With a few key pieces of information, and quality foods and supplements, your body will be movin’ and groovin’ all year long.
Carbs: Friend or Foe?
Carbs are not always the enemy. In short, carbs are fuel.
We all need good quality, nutrient dense, complex carbs to give our body the proper energy to power us through our day, workouts and sporting activities. Whether you’re downhill or cross-country skiing, hiking, rock climbing, dancing, swimming, lifting weights, or walking to work, your body needs carbs.
What are some examples of healthy, nutrient-dense carbohydrates?
- Nuts and seeds
- Fruits and vegetables
- Beans and legumes
- Whole grains
When is the best time to eat carbs in relation to exercise?
Carbs are best consumed at least 30 minutes before physical activity. If you plan to eat a large meal, make sure you give yourself two to four hours to avoid an upset stomach and feeling sluggish.
During physical activity that lasts longer than 2 hours, plan to re-fuel. For example, if you’re snowboarding all day at Whitewater, munching on a granola bar or a homemade power ball can keep your energy levels high.
Protein: Are you using protein to its full potential?
Protein aids in the recovery and regeneration of muscle tissue, making it a great contribution to your post-workout routine. There are many ways to add high-protein whole foods into your diet.
What are some examples of healthy proteins?
In combination with carbs, a post-exercise vegetable smoothie with added hemp seeds (high in protein) or high-quality protein powder is a healthy way to boost your energy and help you recover from your workout. Remember: food first, supplements second!
You can also eat the following high-protein foods or supplements:
- Nuts and seeds
- Beans and legumes
- Wild fish low in mercury
- High-quality protein powder (Need some help choosing a protein supplement? Check out this article from Alive Magazine)
When is the best time to consume protein?
It best to eat a high-quality form of protein within two hours after your workout. This will allow for optimal protein absorption and recovery. Pre-workout protein consumption is not necessary, as carbohydrates will be the first source of energy used while you exercise, followed by fat.
Drinking large amounts of protein powder or pre-made protein drinks/shakes is not necessary, especially if you’re not engaging in rigorous physical activity. This trend can lead to unwanted weight gain and has been proven to show no benefit to performance or health. Eating a variety of whole foods that include protein is a much healthier way to get your daily protein, naturally. For more info, check out this article from UC Davis Integrated Medicine.
Fat: Are you getting your antioxidants?
Exercise causes stress in the body and stress causes the formation of free radicals, leading to oxidation. Which is why it’s important to eat healthy fats that are high in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories. Along with their antioxidant potential, good fats can provide fuel for when you run out of instant energy (aka carbs).
What are some examples of healthy fats?
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut and seed butters
- Cold pressed vegetable oils (olive, avocado, pumpkin seed, coconut)
- Dark chocolate
When is the best time to consume fats in relation to exercise?
Both pre-exercise and post-exercise are good times to add healthy fats to your diet. As with carbs, eating fats too close to the time of exercise can leave you feeling heavy or lead to gastrintestinal disturbance. It’s best to combine fats into your pre-workout meal along with your carbs.
It’s also beneficial to consume good fat after a workout to get those antioxidants working in your body. Adding an avocado or splash of flax seed oil to your post-workout smoothie will do wonders for oxidation and inflammation. It can also help you regain energy so you recover faster.
Check out some of our whole foods and sport products below, perfect for an active lifestyle!
Powered by Food Tips
- Carbs equal energy
- Eat a healthy carb based meal 2 -4 hours before physical activity
- Snacks should be consumed at least 30 mins before, if not 1 hour or more before a workout
- Hydrate with water before your workout
- Consuming healthy fats that are high in antioxidants will help with the oxidation brought on by stress when you exercise
During your workout:
- Consume carbs during your workout if it will exceed 2 hours in duration
- Liquid or gel forms of carbohydrates can be beneficial if sports that exceed 2 hours in length and are not conducive to eating. Ex. marathons or triathlons
- Electrolytes can be beneficial if it is hot and humid outside, if you are a salty sweater, or if exercise is rigorous
- Protein equals recovery
- Eat a high-quality source of protein within 2 hours after your workout, the sooner the better
- Add healthy carbs to your protein for a well-rounded energy boost
- Add antioxidant-rich healthy fats to your post-workout meal
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate