Our body is like a car. It needs maintenance to function correctly. A car requires oil changes, fuel to keep it going, tire and air filter changes, and other endless details to keep the engine working.
Like a car, our body is a machine that needs to be well maintained with fluids, changes, and other details. In order for our body to perform its best, we must practice proper maintenance habits to keep it fueled throughout the day and through our workouts so that we can keep it running and functioning correctly like a car.
Some of those maintenance habits include drinking fluids to stay hydrated and eating the proper foods for energy and muscle repair. These habits keep our body going. But what about during a workout? How do we stay fueled and energized to perform our best? How do we equip our engine to have enough fuel to get to the end of a workout session?
Let me share some tips I try to follow on how to stay fueled for a workout.
How to stay fueled for a workout
- To avoid dehydration through sweat loss during a workout, it is crucial to drink enough water before and throughout the day. Staying hydrated helps perform better and helps avoid experiencing fatigue, muscle cramps, and dizziness.
- Eat healthy carbohydrates
- Carbohydrates produce energy needed for a workout, especially a high intensity one, by turning them into sugar. And though fat and protein also give energy, they do so a lot slower than carbohydrates. That’s why before heading to the gym, I like to eat a small snack such as a banana, berries, apple, yogurt, oatmeal, a whole grain bread, sweet potatoes, or a homemade smoothie.
- Have an energy drink or energy bar
- Stretch and Warm-Up
- For flexibility and better performance.
- You wouldn’t let your car go without fuel during a long road-trip right? It needs gas to get you to your destination. Same with our bodies. Drinking water while working out helps prolong endurance and fight fatigue. It will get you to the end of your workout feeling just fine. Drinking every 15 minutes helps me stay hydrated. But the hotter it is and the more I sweat, the more H2O I drink.
- Hydrate. Again!
- When we exercise the body experiences fluid loss from sweating. Water will re-hydrate the body. That’s why it’s important to drink it afterward. And because electrolytes are also lost through exercise, a sports drink or coconut water will help replenish them.
- Eat or drink protein
- Protein helps muscles recover and grow. That’s why after a workout it’s wise to fuel our bodies with a post workout food or snack. My favorite post workout foods high in protein are; lean chicken, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, cottage cheese, yogurt, and beans. If you aren’t in the mood to eat, you can opt for a protein drink or a green smoothie instead.
As you can see, staying hydrated is extremely important and it keeps me fueled throughout the day. I admit, drinking water doesn’t come easily to me or to most of us. But we must purposefully remind ourselves to do so. I do this with an app that reminds me to fuel up by drinking water every hour.
Nutrition also plays a big role in how we perform during our workouts. That’s why it’s important to learn which foods give energy, which ones repair muscles, and which provide the nutrients we need. Sometimes the easiest thing to do will be to grab a small snack. Other times we will need the extra energy by eating an energy bar or drink, or replenishing with a protein drink, bar, or smoothie.
Extra tips to stay motivated and fueled for your workouts:
- Switch up the routines
- Because who likes to repeat the same thing every day? And to surprise your muscles.
- Eat healthy breakfasts
- To start the day with a perfect amount of energy.
- Listen to upbeat music
- Easy to explain! It will push you to do better.
- Have a rest day
- Muscles need to repair.
- Hydrate throughout the day
- As mentioned above
- Sometimes food isn’t enough to get the vitamins and minerals we need. A vitamin supplement helps fill the gap.
Do you want your engine performing at its best during a workout? What you do with your body and put into your body will determine how it functions. Do what’s best for it and keep it maintained and fueled to get the best results. Pick what works for you and start from there.
How do you stay fueled for your workouts? How do you stay fueled throughout the day and what type of maintenance do you perform on your body? What tips do you have for staying energized throughout a workout or through the day?