I've actually gotten a number of questions about how I fuel during and around workouts. I follow two guiding principles: 1. I have a ve...

Fueling During a Workout

I've actually gotten a number of questions about how I fuel during and around workouts. I follow two guiding principles:
1. I have a very strong stomach. I can run while eating.
2. I don't like to eat weird gus/gels/chomps/jelly bean/etc.

I usually plan my calorie intake based on my calorie expenditure. A typical workout for me burns 600-800 calories, and I fuel differently for workouts that fall below this range, in the range and above this range.

Some notes on timing:
- My first workout usually starts within an hour of eating breakfast; I try to eat between 600 and 800 calories with breakfast, usually some sort of hot or cold cereal, fruit, non-dairy milk, and coffee; sometimes I follow up with a PB&J.
- I usually eat two lunches, one around 10:30am (brunch?) after the first workout, and one between 12:30 and 1:30.
- My second daily workout usually starts between 3:30 and 4:30pm.
- I typically eat dinner between 6 and 7pm, generally within an hour of finishing the second workout.

<600 calories
1st workout of the day:
If I'm expecting to burn fewer than 600 calories on my workout, I really don't do anything special. It seems my body is very capable of storing this much energy. I will drink water during the session, and probably eat before and after.

2nd workout of the day:
I often get so busy during the day that I am hungry right at the start of my 2nd workout. I've been known to run out the door with toast in hand, munching as I start my warm-up. However, I won't bring anything special with me.

600-800 calories
1st workout of the day:
I will probably bring some sort of liquid calories with me, e.g. Gatorade or iced coffee with some soymilk and sugar added. I've usually just eaten breakfast, so I've got some calories coming into my system.

2nd workout of the day:
Even if I'm busy during the day, I make sure to eat a bit extra. I will probably also bring some sort of snack with me. If I'm in a boat, it can be anything that fits in a ziploc bag (so it doesn't get wet): PB&J, crackers, tortilla chips, apple wedges, etc. If I'm running, I might try to go without and just shove some cash in my shorts in case I'm desperate; otherwise, I will probably bring a Clif bar.

>800 calories
1st workout of the day:
Definitely calls for liquid calories, possibly also solids. 16 ounces of Gatorade is a pretty standard addition (about 100 calories), plus probably enough additional calories that net burn is within the 600-800 range.

2nd workout of the day:
This is pretty rare, since we usually do the longer work in the mornings. It definitely calls for both Gatorade and some sort of solid fuel. I will probably also eat directly before and directly after the workout.

This all sounds super strategic and scientific, but really it's just how things seem to pan out.

As an example, this morning was one of my longest workouts, C4. It's 2x50 minutes at (for me) heart rate 155-165. I was late getting up this morning (I always seem to drag my feet on this workout) and decided to get this done by running.

For breakfast, I ate hot cereal (at least two servings, probably three) amended with raisins, hemp protein powder, molasses and maple syrup. Also drank some coffee. I followed up with a banana and a piece of toast with earth balance, then about 4 ounces of Gatorade and an apple wedge within about 10 minutes of starting my run.

I packed a little snack baggie with about 20 raisins that I ate at the halfway point in the run; I also stopped for water at 25' and 50' into the run. Immediately after the run, I ate the rest of my apple and another 8 ounces of Gatorade, followed by toast with peanut/almond butters about 20 minutes later. Within an hour and a half of finishing the workout, I also had half of a large smoothie (that I later finished with lunch).

The run burned just under 1000 calories; with the bike ride to and from the boathouse I definitely broke 1000.

What do you eat before/during/after workouts? Do you use sports products or natural foods?

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