Fuel the Fire

You have a workout in one hour, what should you eat?

If you answered Cooler Ranch Doritos, just know I respect you, but you are wrong. You should not eat Doritos or Cheetos or anything with Tapatio before working out. But what should you eat?

Generally, you’re safe having a modest amount of carbs (bread, fruit, granola, honey) and fat-rich foods (nut butter, milk, and yogurt). I generally wouldn’t recommend going heavy on protein because it will give you a full feeling (uncomfortable for some) and it’s not quick energy. The best advice I can give you is to have a light snack you are used to consuming. A workout is no time for stomach-related surprises.

Here’s a little unconventional wisdom: processed foods are okay before a workout. That being said, I would still urge you to avoid junk food. Two big reasons for this. The obvious one is that if you’re working out, you’re probably conscious about your weight; junk food is an easy way to destroy a diet. Second, many junk foods will leave you feeling lethargic (not good if the whole point is to encourage energy expenditure). If you have a strong sweet tooth, stick with the candies that have few ingredients (i.e. mostly just sugar). Again, not awesome to spike your blood sugar, but I’d take gummy bears over a Snickers Bar pre-workout.

With that being said, I thought I’d include some pre-workout foods from professional athletes. Some of these might surprise you. ESPN reported that the latest dietary craze in the NBA is the pregame peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I love that because I love peanut butter and I tolerate jelly. Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, is largely fueled by chicken nuggets courtesy of McDonalds. Chicken nuggets aren’t so bad, but I probably wouldn’t recommend knocking back as many as Bolt does. The sharp shooting Steph Curry is obsessed with popcorn. According to the New York Times, he has it before, during, and after his games. Finally, Tom Brady has become a legend for both his on-field play and off-field dieting. Here is a little taste:

No white sugar. No white flour. No MSG. I’ll use raw olive oil, but I never cook with olive oil. I only cook with coconut oil. Fats like canola oil turn into trans fats. … I use Himalayan pink salt as the sodium. I never use iodized salt. [Tom] doesn’t eat nightshades, because they’re not anti-inflammatory. So no tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, or eggplants. Tomatoes trickle in every now and then, but just maybe once a month. I’m very cautious about tomatoes. They cause inflammation. What else? No coffee. No caffeine. No fungus. No dairy.

That’s all from me today, best of luck on the workouts and happy eating!

Football was meant to be played in leather helmets and sweaters. Currently taking suggestions for which NHL team I should support.

Twitter: @IshFarooqui