Despite the fact that most of us aren’t professional athletes, it’s still a good idea to fuel your body when you’re active. Buying sports drinks, gummies, gels and bars can get expensive—not to mention, they can have some questionable ingredients. So it’s a good thing recent studies have shown that foods you probably already have in your pantry can work just as well. Whether you’re training for a marathon or just lacing up for the first time, here are some simple sports nutrition tips on how you can feed your inner athlete naturally.
Prep for your workout with a bowl of oatmeal topped with a handful of raisins, chia seeds almonds and a bit of maple syrup. The slow-release carbs in oatmeal pair great with fast—hitting energy from a bit of maple syrup. Almonds bring some protein to the mix and chia seeds may support muscle building and recovery because of it’s omega-3 content. Eat at least two hours before a workout to give yourself time to digest.
Looking for something more portable? Try making your own homemade power bar.
Raisins: Natural Energy Chews
Research shows that raisins help maintain blood glucose just as well as commercial energy chews, plus they have potassium and magnesium. (And they’re typically cheaper than sport jelly beans too.) During your workout, eat about ¼ cup of raisins (125 calories) for every hour of exercise.
Coconut Water: Hydration Power Drink
Exercising for over an hour? You may need more than just water to keep going. You’ll need to replace the electrolytes lost from sweating to help regulate blood pressure and help you retain fluids. Research shows that unsweetened coconut water is just as effective at keeping you hydrated as sports drinks, without the added sugar. Drink it throughout your workout as you would water or a sports drink.
(Need a little motivation to get moving? Fitness app users were 27 percent more likely to be active versus non-app users according to recent research. Try Sworkit or Nike Training Club for a free push.)