What should I eat before I exercise? That’s one of the questions athletes of all ages and abilities most commonly ask in sports nutrition workshops. While most people expect a simple response such as “Eat a banana,” or “Have a slice of toast,” the answer is actually more complex and depends on many factors.
Being physically active has countless health benefits. It helps prevent weight problems and reduces the risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. But according to a recent study from Canada, regular exercise can also improve how people perceive the world around them. Especially those suffering from anxiety or depression can profit from workouts or even just short brisk walks, researchers found.
Carbohydrates seem to be a source of confusion for most health-conscious people, including athletes and fitness fanatics. Many active people don’t know what to eat. They just think they should avoid pasta, bagels, juice, bananas, and sugar, even if these foods are not problematic for them. Most of the anti-carb hype is targeted not toward the fit crowd but the masses of overfat and underfit folks whose bodies do not handle carbohydrates as well.
Too many athletes of all ages struggle with food. While the prevalence of eating disorders is higher among elite athletes, and higher in females than in males, the runners, dancers, gymnasts, and others who compete in weight-sensitive sports are the most vulnerable.
Centuries ago, warriors (the original athletes) ate the hearts of lions. Today, athletes seek out energy drinks and protein shakes. Clearly, times have changed. In case you are wondering what else is old – and new – when it comes to sports nutrition, I’ve compiled this update to resolve confusion and help you fuel for success.