I’m sure you’ve heard before (and I’ve even fallen victim and said it) that the advantage of being a thrower is eating whatever you want. Sure we don’t need to be a size zero and many of us are trying to gain mass, but that doesn’t mean we can be unhealthy and still reach our goals. Being a thrower isn’t an excuse to be out of shape or unfit, our bodies are still machines and we need to feed them right if we want to get the most out of our training. It’s not about being a certain size, it’s about being the best athletes we can be for our sport.
I was asked once how I became a thrower and I made the joking remark that they put all the fat kids in the throwing events, and was quoted at saying ‘I was just a chubby kid throwing 25ft in the shot and 60ft in the discus.’ Well, times are changing. The top throwers in the world are strong, fast, dynamic, and athletic. Most of the fat kids with asthma who threw in high school either got fitter and capitalized on their athleticism, or they are watching the Olympics, not throwing in them.
The point of this article is just to discuss one aspect of our training and diet regiment, specifically for this one pre-workout nutrition. Now when I say diet, I’m not talking about losing those few lbs to look good in our bathing suits. No, I’m talking about a nutrition plan that helps us feel our best, recover from training, and make the most gains during the year so we can compete at our best.
Many of us understand that post-workout nutrition is important. We’ve used our body’s reserves and it’s time to replenish them. Many of us don’t even need to be told to eat because we are starving after finishing. But something that may be over looked is pre-workout nutrition.
What is Pre-workout Nutrition?
Pre-workout nutrition is what you eat before working out to ensure you have the energy to last through your grueling two hour practices. This prepares your body for the most effective workout. Ever feel tired in the middle of training? Feel sluggish? That may be because you are not fueling your body properly (or in some cases, at all).
Break Down with Eating before Working Out
When we workout we use our stored energy to keep moving, when this becomes used up, we turn to glycolysis (converting carbs into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is the energy used to contract our muscles.) When your body goes through its glycogen stores, it will then move to burning fat and muscle to get the energy. Our bodies using our muscle as fuel is not conducive to our goals.
We must eat before we workout to ensure that we have the proper nutrients to keep our bodies running efficiently in order to avoid using our muscles as energy.
Macro nutrients: How Our Bodies Use Them
Carbs are the main source of energy during high intense exercising. Fats are used to fuel lower intensity exercises for longer period of times. And finally, proteins are most used to maintain and repair body tissues. So it would make sense that our pre-workout meal consist of mostly carbs to replenish our energy and give us quick access to more.
I love a combination of quick burning carb (higher glycemic carbs like fruit) for faster energy and slower burning carbs and energy sources (fiber, oatmeal, omega 3′s and 6′s) for longer sustained energy.
Some Last Thoughts Pre-Workout:
- Avoid just high sugary/ high glymic carbs like soft drinks and candy. You don’t want to have an insulin crash during your workout because your blood sugar rose and fell too quickly. This is what leaves you feeling sluggish and tired. I also avoid drinking juice because most are just as sugary as pop and don’t have the fiber fruit does.
- When you exercise, you shift your energy and blood to muscles, so don’t eat large slow burning meals (heavy in fat, calorie dense) right before working out. This slows digestion and no one wants to work out with undigested food sitting heavy in their stomach.
- Liquid meals digest quicker than solid meals, you may want to think of shakes and smoothies before training in the 90-45 minute window.
- EAT SOMETHING! Don’t skip meals if you haven’t eaten for a few hours before working out. Remember, your body needs energy to run and it will gladly take it from your hard earned muscles.
Ideas for Pre-Workout Meals and Snacks:
There are tons of shakes and bars that flood the market when it comes to pre and post workout nutrition. Some of them are packed with great things, while others are glorified candy bars. Also there is the added fear of supplements that you don’t know what is inside them. If you don’t have a credible source to get pre made pre-workout nutrition, you may want to make your own. (I prefer eating real food any way.)
Basically what we are looking for are meals with energy boosting qualities like good source of carbs or essential fatty acids like Omega 3′s and 6′s, while avoiding heavy saturated fats and too caloric dense foods.
- Oatmeal (I prefer steel cut and add vanilla, cinnamon, and berries)
- Almonds (packed full of essential fatty acids great for energy)
- Pasta (has great complex carbohydrates)
- Berry shakes
- Trail mix (get kinds that are heavy on seeds, nuts, and fruit rather than packed with delicious candy and chocolate!)
- Turkey Sandwich (easy on the mayo)
And remember, pre-workout meals are also great for pre competition meals. Make sure you are still fired up and ready to go in the last round of finals on your sixth throw!
For more great training and nutrition ideas, please check out the Lift4Hope ebook. All the profits go to supporting the Lift4Hope athletes (including myself) and it is full of great training tips from some of the best minds out there! http://www.fitstep.com/lift4hope/lift4hope.htm
Berry Mint Smoothie: Great Pre-workout shake (I workout early in the morning so this is also breakfast for me)
I love this smoothie because it is packed full of flavor, good energy sources, low in calories and crap and super easy to make. Plus, I’m currently trying this gluten and dairy free diet and this is perfect for it. It is also easy to change to suit your needs. Add protein to make it a perfect post workout, change the berries, use yogurt instead of almond milk. You decide.
1 cup frozen berries (you can use any berries, I use blueberry, raspberries, and blackberries)
2 leaves of fresh mint ripped up into small pieces
1 cup vanilla soy or almond milk (soy has more protein, you can use regular milk if you’d like just add a few drops of vanilla extract)
1 scoop of ground flax seed (I love ground flaxseed. It is a great source of fiber, omega 3′s which are key in energy boosting, and protein) *Optional
Take all ingredients and place in mixer or food processor. Blend until smooth consistency and well mixed. Enjoy your pre-workout energy boost and see if you can tell a difference!
1 serving: calories 202 (272 w/flax) protein 7.5g (10.5g) fats 1.5g (6.5g) carbs 40g (45g) fiber 5.5g (9.5g)