When you’re looking for the latest rule or guideline on when and what to eat before you do any physical activity, it’s so easy to get caught down a rabbit hole of conflicting information. So we have our own food philosophy, when it comes to pre- and post- activity meals.
We are always accompanied by the best guidebook at all times - our bodies! If we just learn to listen to them, we will find the best balance of what and when to eat. It’s hard to remember to do this, but just do a quick pulse check with your stomach every so often. You always want to feel comfortable for the activity you’re about to do.
One of our favorite activities to do here in LA is to go on a walk along the esplanade or a hike in the hills. But the strain of our activity tells us how much energy we’re going to need.
At the basics of it, food is fuel. It gives your body and brain the energy it needs to function well. When we’re doing physical activity, we’re taking energy from the food we eat and turning it into fuel. When we don’t have any food to turn into energy, we end up using up our reserves.
When you’re choosing a snack before you go for a walk, run or workout, think about the following:
- Is your snack a good mix of protein and carbohydrates? Protein, fat, and carbohydrates are macronutrients. Our body needs a reasonable amount of each of these every day. Protein is a component of every cell in our body and is an important building block of bones, muscle, cartilage, skin and blood. We need protein to build and repair tissue, like muscle.Carbohydrates provide us with energy. They help your body fuel different muscles, your heart, brain, kidneys, and your central nervous system. Carbohydrates help with digestion and also regulate your blood cholesterol levels.
- Do you feel energetic, but not overly full? You want your body to not feel hungry, but not full either. If you have too much food too close to any physical activity and don’t allow yourself enough time to digest it, you will have a hard time staying comfortable during your activity. You can experience bloating, cramps, fatigue, or even nausea. Your body knows when it has too much or too little food. Just take your cues from it.
- Did you enjoy your snack? Physical activity shouldn’t be a chore! And for us, a walk along the beach or in the hills is far from torturous. So we want to make sure the entire experience is enjoyable. And that starts with our snack. If we are dreading our food, we will definitely dread anything that makes us consume it! So we choose to eat good, whole, delicious foods that we love. It sets the right tone for our walk.
What’s your favorite walk snack?