exercise of the month
Determining an outdoor training plan is easy. Head out for a run, do some hill sprints, or even try a spontaneous body weight circuit at the local playground. But how do you make sure you’re not just finishing these trainings, but crushing them? The key lies in properly fueling yourself before as well as during your workout. Here are five food and beverage ideas you can use to boost your outdoor training performance.
Water and coconut water. The cooler weather doesn’t mean we can slack off on hydrating our bodies. But what’s the best way to hydrate? Most of the time, water should be sufficient. For 20 minutes of hill sprints or a WOD (workout of the day), water will do the trick. If plain water bores you, add a few slices of fruit to kick up the flavor a bit.
Coconut water burst onto the scene a few years ago and has become a popular substitute for water. Keep in mind that while other drinks are fortified with sodium, coconut water has very little, so it will not replace the electrolytes you lose when you sweat. Regardless, the original statement stands: water is usually sufficient.
Beef jerky. While it may seem like an odd addition to the mix, beef jerky is a portable protein that is convenient and travels well. One study found that in addition to being a quality source of protein and amino acids, beef jerky is a “viable recovery supplement following endurance exercise without concern for hydration status, performance decrements or cardiovascular consequences.” The moral of the story? Pack a little beef jerky in your gym bag for after your workout.
Trail mix. Trail mix deserves a lot of love. You’ve got protein, healthy fats and plenty of vitamins and minerals in the nuts. The dried fruit has many nutrients as well. And even better? It’s all portable and inexpensive. The beauty of trail mix is that you can customize it to your taste. Love dried apricots and banana chips? Perfect. Want some almonds because they’re such a great source of so many nutrients? Add them in! It’s up to you to create the snack you want.
I always recommend a 2:1 ratio of nuts to fruit, meaning for every one handful of nuts, you add just a half handful of fruit.
Almond butter and banana sandwich. This old standby is the perfect portable lunch. The banana offers a nice dose of the important electrolyte, potassium, as well as other nutrients. The almond butter combines protein with some “good-for-you” fats. Whole grain bread (gluten free, if you’d like) or sprouted grain bread (if you want a higher fiber option) works to balance out the meal.
This sandwich is great if you plan to hike, as it offers a good dose of energy (calories) and is portable.
Chocolate milk. This one might come as a surprise, but drinking chocolate milk is an excellent way to recover after a hard workout. It combines carbohydrates, protein and fluid—all of which are important after a tough workout—not to mention vitamin D, calcium, potassium and many other vitamins and minerals. And the filling nature of chocolate milk will carry you over until you get home for a “real” meal. The beauty is that there are several product options that don’t need to be refrigerated until they’re opened.
And there you have it: 5 simple ways to fuel your outdoor workout!