Friday, July 6, 2012

Fuel Food Friday

Welcome to Fuel Food Friday! We all want to get maximum results from each workout we do, whether it be a 5km time trial, screamin' fast CrossFit WOD, or max effort lift. With a little thinking ahead and planning, you can have an energy boosting pre-workout meal and tasty meal waiting for you after you've just poured your sweat and soul into your workout.

At this time each week, I'll post a tip for fueling your body, including a pre or post workout meal designed to provide you with optimum nutrition for fueling your body. Doesn't that sound awesome?

Sunday's will be the pooch's turn, I'll be posting tips for fueling your dog's performance engine as well as other important things to consider for your canine athlete.

A bit of background for this first Fuel Food Friday post (I promise I won't repeat it.... maybe). I'm a huge fan of eating well: Paleo and Primal nutirition are the basis of the 'diet' in our house (I say 'diet' in the sense of my normal eating pattern), keeping track of my insulin sensitivity and optimum adrenal function are important to me. I was diagnosed with an adrenal disease in the past, which I think is a load of crap... most adrenal dysfunctions can be controlled with diet and exercise, but that's a whole other post. I now manage easily with what I put in my belly. No more pills. My philosophy on food and the research I do behind my eating is taken from Paleo/Primal and other related resources. Some of my favourites are Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Charles Poliquin, Precision Nutrition, etc. I detest Canada's Food Guide and the USDA Food Pyramid in their current state and believe it is the root of all obesity/diabetic/heart disease evil. Nuff said. End rant. Bah!

This week's tip is about finding the optimal protein to carb ratio for your post run meal. Notice I say RUN. This isn't the most optimum post workout food if you are wanting to look like the guy in the gym that you want to follow around, doing his workout because he has enough muscle for the entire high school track team with some to spare. What I'm suggesting here is for those of us who either run for more than an hour or for a high output chipper WOD day, this is the kind of meal you are striving for.

To simplify, high output workouts break down muscle and deplete your glycogen stores. Its like someone buying out all the stock on the shelf, plus the extra stock in the back room. This allows you to buy more stock to fill your shelves, plus a bit extra to keep in the store room for restocking. The intensity and duration of your workout will be the deciding factor on how much you eat. To get a bit more precise, you can do a bit of math using the Zone block calculations. Figure out what your daily requirements are here. From Rob Wolfe's suggestions, a post workout meal for high output endeavours I should use the following ratios:

1/4 of daily protein requirements
1/4 to 1/2 of daily carb requirements (depending on the length and intensity of your workout)

For my purposes, I'm a 14 block-a-day person. So I would need:
3.5 blocks or about 25g of protein
3.5 to 7 blocks or 32 to 64g of carbs

Seems like a lot doesn't it? To put it in perspective, it is highly unlikely I would eat 64g of carbs after anything other than a maximal effort workout either in a CrossFit competition or after a race taking longer than a hour to run. For longer or more intense training workouts I'd be much closer to 32-40g of carbs, maybe even up to 45g if I'm giving it my all facing off against a fellow runner or CrossFitter for fun.

Now for the what to eat! If you've just scrolled down this far to get to the food, that's OK too. Not everyone likes to read all the technical stuff. "Just give me the goods!", you say. This is a suggestion of a meal in the proper portions.

Photo Credit
Sun Dried Tomato Meatballs with Creamy Pesto
This would cover most of your protein requirement with ample healthy fats. The creator suggests this entire recipe serves 5-6. This would be about 3.6 blocks of protein dividing them up into 5 servings.

Photo Credit
Bacon Basil Twice Baked Sweet Potato
Added bonus of some more protein with the bacon. How big the sweet potato is would depend on how many carbs you need. Small for training, medium for friendly competition, big-ass after a competition or race. Juli is right on par with the serving size on these, 1/2 a medium sweet potato is equal to about 3 blocks.

If you're into being really OCD about your recipes and blocks (like I used to be... I've since recovered, but I'm still an enabler), you can check out this resource. It is a great search engine for ingredients that includes the zone block ratio. One caveat is the fat is really low for my liking. I cut the number of blocks in 1/2 of their given value. Athletes need a lot of healthy fats!

And that's it. Simple as pie, right?

Tell me what you think! 
Any burning questions you'd like to have answered about nutrition and your fitness? 
Do you have any favourite meals for post workouts?

Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, dietitian, nor do I have a PhD in agriculture. I'm just a woman that's done her research, experimented, been at the bottom of the cortisol pit, made my way back up again to health, and knows how to use food to fuel her performance. I do what's best for me and my family. My suggestions may or may not work for you, but I encourage you to experiment for yourself. If your current diet's not working for you, what do you have to lose? We are all masters of our own bodies!


  1. That twice baked bacon sweet potato sounds amazing - great source of protein & carbs if you ask me!! I do find that if I have too much fat post run then I feel tired and worn down...I don't think it refuels me quite as fast.

  2. I'm the same with greasy fat, but if it's naturally occurring or Branch-Chain Amino Acids it gives me a boost for the day. This will be our dinner tomorrow after my long run!

  3. Love this post! So great to find some other CrossFit/Paleo blogs out there! Those recipes sound awesome and I love that you are zoning! Props to you :)

    1. Thanks for checking my blog out! I'm a paleo food lover, but not very creative when it comes to creating my own recipes, there are so many other good ones out there already!


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