Firing Up with Functional Fuel

By Elizabeth Jarrard on June 26, 2013 , categorized in Active Living, Strength + Conditioning

Ever have those days where getting to the gym takes much more effort than your actual workout? Without proper fuel before exercise, your workout is bound to feel sluggish. Functional fuel before your workout is key to pushing yourself to the next level. How much, when, and what kind depends on the level of activity you are pursuing.

Before Light Intensity or Short Workouts
(Yoga, walking, or gym workout less than 30 minutes)

If you’re planning to squeeze in a short workout—less than 30 minutes—or enjoy a relaxed yoga class, your body most needs electrolytes to maintain hydration. If you feel like an extra surge of energy, caffeine can help you push your muscles, even during a shorter workout. When looking for a caffeine source, choose holistic green tea and yerba maté over a caffeine supplement or coffee. Besides adding antioxidants, many people find that green tea and yerba maté give them energy, without a devastating crash afterwards.

Vega created Sugar-Free Pre-Workout Energizer to get you in the zone—with only five calories. Since shorter workouts don’t require extra energy or nutrients beyond your regular diet, it’s sweetened with stevia and contains 10 additional synergistic ingredients including rhodiola, ginseng, and devil’s claw that have benefits that support exercise performance.

Before High Intensity or Long Workouts
(Endurance exercise, or high-intensity interval training)

For your high intensity sessions or workouts longer than 30 minutes, your body will perform best when it has fuel from easily digestible carbohydrates in addition to caffeine. A snack that is low in fat and fiber, and high in simple carbohydrates can power you through your entire workout.

Pre-Workout Energizer contains a blend of both high- and low-glycemic carbohydrates. Whole grain brown rice syrup, a high-glycemic carb, provides a sudden burst of energy, while coconut palm nectar, a low-glycemic carb, slowly releases into your blood stream for a constant source of energy. Your body uses the calories from functional sugars consumed before a workout as fuel. If you’re planning on cycling, swimming, running, playing hockey, basketball or soccer for longer than 30 minutes, use functional fuel to take it to the next level.

If your workout falls somewhere in between, tune into your body to feel how much of a push you need. If today was an exhausting day, maybe you’ll decide to turn to a source of easily digestible carbohydrates for that extra kick to help you get the most from your workout.

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Elizabeth Jarrard

Elizabeth Jarrard is a registered dietitian in Denver, CO who specializes in medical nutrition therapy and plant-based nutrition. She educates clients and consumers on how to optimize their health through nutrition.

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