As the cooler weather approaches, running outside is an option again for those living in the hot southern states. Around mid-May all the way through mid-October, running outdoors is just out of the question with temperatures hovering in the upper 90’s daily, not to mention the humidity, which poses another problem. But now, with cooler mornings and early evenings, you can spot me out for a jog at least two times weekly . It is a rewarding feeling to get some exercise done early in the morning, while also training for a long distance race I will be participating in, within a few months. But exercising early in the morning proves to be a challenge when it comes to having enough energy to complete my workouts.
There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything we need to do, and often squeezing in a gym session is difficult and has to be accommodated at awkward times of the day. Taking a jog, going for a bike ride, or running at 6 am is an option, but what do you eat before you go? And if your answer is nothing, well, that may just be your limiting factor when trying to improve your performance. After a few weeks stuck at the same distance on my run, I took a second look at my routine. Due to the time crunch, I would drink a large glass of water, eat half a banana and take off running. The reason that doesn’t work is that after 8-10 hours fasting, your body requires some readily available energy to allow you to exercise.
Eating a large breakfast right before exercising is not ideal for most people, myself included. Between the timing, stomach upset, indigestion and practicality this is not always a first choice. But the good news is there is an easy compromise that will allow you to solve both issues at once! Eat a quick power bite that won’t weigh you down, but will provide a boost of energy to perform at your best. Energy bites have become quite popular lately, and we have a recipe for one here (link of past blog with energy bites) that is a good option since it is high in fiber as well. This second option we present below is a bit higher in natural sugars coming from the dates and apricots, while also possessing protein from cashews and the tahini. The recipe combines nutrients from nuts and seeds and is not overly sweet making it perfect for a pre-workout snack any time of day!
The ratio of sugar to protein in these bites makes them also appropriate to consume after exercise to replenish and reduce the chance of inflammation in your muscles. They are easy to prepare, and you can make a big batch to place in the refrigerator and enjoy them for up to 7 days. Or make a double batch and freeze half, so you can have a stock ready for up to one month.
Whatever goals you have in mind when it comes to physical conditioning, don’t forget what an important part what you eat plays in the end game. Nourish your body with nutrients, good quality carbohydrates, protein and good fats, so that you reach your maximum potential, always striving for more!