Eating and drinking the right foods and beverages is a key part of any fitness routine. However, the best foods for some practices, like yoga, may not be for others, like running. No matter your exercise of choice, we’ve got a food you can choose to boost performance, help you recover quickly and fuel your training inspiration. Discover the optimum foods to fuel your fitness routine for yoga, running, crossfit, weight training and intense cardio sports, like tennis, soccer, cycling and basketball.
If yoga runs just before or during dinner, it can be hard to figure out a quick, nutrient-dense snack that won’t turn into digestive upset mid-class. Smoothies offer easily digestible protein, sugars and hydration to provide fuel without the uncomfortable feeling of eating a big meal pre-practice. Keep portion sizes to about 1 cup, as the fibre in smoothies can overwhelm stomachs upon exercise.
Runners need to keep an eye on their iron intake, a mineral that the exercise can easily deplete. Iron is needed to combat fatigue, muscle wasting and more. Without it, those long runs can be a challenge too far.
Eggs are one of the best, most highly bio-available protein options to help maintain muscle mass in runners. They also offer runner-friendly iron for energy and healthy fats for joint lubrication, too.
Crossfit: Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a great source of energy and healthy saturated fat, helping with cell integrity. It’s an easily digested energy that keeps you going without the need for a bulky meal, something most crossfitters will avoid before a workout. Another great option is pasture-raised butter, which provides omega-3s, too. Cook with coconut oil, add to smoothies, stir into coffee and more, it’s a taste of the tropics that may boost your crossfit game.
Crossfit: Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are rich in protein, iron and healthy fats, all nutrients necessary for amping up crossfit performance. The protein in nuts and seeds (unsalted) provides crossfitters with energy without bulk as well as helps to build or maintain muscle mass, while iron keeps muscle wasting and fatigue out of the picture. The healthy fats in nuts and seeds work to help lubricate and soothe joints, making heavy lifting a breeze.
Weight Training: Chicken
Building lean muscle and cutting fat requires eating a good amount of protein. Chicken is high in protein and low in fat, making it a quick and easy go-to for your weight training routine. Prep some juicy, protein-packed chicken breasts on the weekend to have on hand for lunches, pre-training snacks and salads all week long.
Cardio Sports: Beet Juice
Beet juice offers good-for-you nitrites, which helps blood flow, muscle contraction and other cardiovascular sport-boosting effects. Especially popular with cyclists, this natural sport beverage can naturally enhance endurance, which any team sport, which includes being on the move, is important can benefit from.
Cardio Sports: Bananas
Bananas offer a quick source of carbohydrates for energy, as well as potassium, an electrolyte needed for correct muscle function — including your heart muscle — during intense cardiovascular exercise. A banana with peanut butter, which gives you both carbohydrates, potassium and protein, is a fast snack before or after a workout, for either prep or recovery.
Allison Day is a cookbook author, nutritionist (RHN) and the creator of the award-winning food blog Yummy Beet.