Fueling Before + After Exercise: Q&A

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on July 8, 2009

Hello, Happy Hump-day!

This was me at midnight last night, finally done my day!


Eric was also hard at work…

He did the first coat of paint in my workout room!!!! :D


Check out his blog this morning (around 9am) for the finished product!

Also, you still have 1 day left to enter the amazing Neal Brother’s giveaway!


Yesterday, a fabulous OSG reader named Michelle, directed me to this awesome Q+A featured on the New York Times Health website.

BonciPhotoColor1 Below is a summary of Tara Parker-Pope’s interview with Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a certified specialist in sports dietetics.

Leslie is also the author of a new book, “Sports Nutrition for Coaches” found on Amazon.

I summarized the key points below that I found were interesting regarding fueling for exercise- a topic that I have been very interested in lately!

  1. Think of food as your inner equipment. You wouldn’t drive a car with a flat tire, right? Well, we shouldn’t exercise without fuel in our tanks either!
  2. Two common mistakes people make are A) Not fueling before exercise (you will be weak) and B) Eating too much before exercise (your stomach will feel too full and uncomfortable). It is a fine line to achieve a happy medium!
  3. Eating 1 hour before exercise is generally good for most people (mostly carbs).
  4. One hour before exercise, you should have 20 ounces of liquid. It takes 1 hour for this amount of liquid to leave the stomach and make its way to the muscles.
  5. If you workout longer than 1 hour, you need to fuel during exercise. Aim for about 30-60 grams of carbs per hour. Gels, honey, sugar cubes, or sports drinks are suggested sources.
  6. Eat within 15 minutes of exercise. “The enzymes that help the body re-synthesize muscle glycogen are really most active in that first 15 minutes. The longer we wait to eat something, the longer it takes to recover.”
  7. Refueling after exercise helps prevent delayed-onset muscle soreness. Especially after intense exercise you MUST refuel or you risk a lengthened recovery time!
  8. Peanut butter sandwiches are often recommended because they have both carbs and protein. They are also inexpensive and nonperishable! You can take them anywhere.
  9. Fluid intake should be between 14 ounces and 40 ounces per hour depending on how much you sweat. It varies widely by the person.

10.  If you don’t take in enough fluid, you risk heat injury and joint injury. Your speed, stamina, and strength will also diminish.

11.  To gulp or sip your water? Gulping your water is apparently better because having a greater volume of fluid in the stomach stimulates the activity of the stretch receptors in the stomach. This increases intra-gastric pressure and promote faster emptying.

12.  Three meals a day is not enough for someone who is physically active. You should have at least 3 meals and at least 2 snacks a day to keep your energy up.

You can read the full interview here.


Some things I found interesting in the interview:

  • 1 hour before exercise try to have 20 ounces of water.


I must say aside from my recent 10k race, I don’t tend to give my liquid intake much thought before exercise. I am usually on my way out the door for a run, when I stop and go, ‘oh crap- water!"’ and I gulp some down and hit the road. I really want to pay more attention to my water intake 1 hour before and see if this makes a difference.

  • Peanut butter sandwiches are a great fuel source.


Ok, I guess I knew this, but it never really ‘sunk in’ just how awesome PB sandwiches are- tasty, filled with carbs and some protein, portable, nonperishable, and CHEAP! The wonder snack! :) And come on…who doesn’t need a few more reasons to eat some PB?

  • Gulping water is better than sipping water.


I am still not 100% convinced of this claim, but it is worth a shot! :)

What are your thoughts of this interview?

Now I have a fun question for all of you today that isn’t really related to the Q+A, but I thought I would ask it anyways!

What ‘health products’ do you LOVE but HATE how expensive they are???

I’ll go first:

  • Coconut oil
  • Brown rice syrup/agave nectar
  • ALL organic produce
  • Tea Tree Oil Astringent that I buy
  • Almond butter
  • Organic canned salmon (like $5-6 a CAN! what the heck!)
  • Bagged TEA (Yogi tea, anyone!?) Which is why I have switched to loose leaf for the time being!
  • Veggie burgers
  • Amy’s products (I find they are highly overrated personally. Every time I check the nutritional info they are loaded with sodium!)
  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Vegan margarine
  • Specialty cereal (Kashi, and the like)
  • liquid garlic (Kyolic)
  • CHIA seeds!! I tried buying some yesterday and it was going to be like $40 for 2 cups worth! I had to put them back :(

Ok, I will stop now! lol…

What about YOU?


Thank you to everyone for submitting your green monster stories to me ([email protected])! I will be updating them this morning, so be sure to check for your post! Submit your story today!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

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Maggie July 8, 2009 at 11:46 am

Personally I feel that all foods that are considered to be healthy are overpriced whether it be organic produce, vegan foods (which I personally find annoying), cereal, bread, etc.
I think they’ve all got it backwards, shouldn’t we be encouraged to eat healthier? I’ll never understand why the government is willing to subsidize meat, but doesn’t help out with healthy foods, i’m pretty sure more people would be willing to eat these foods if they were cheaper. Just my 2 cents :)


Heather July 8, 2009 at 11:59 am

Anything gluten free!!! Any gluten free flour too! (like sorghum, amaranth… I need to take a loan to bake!)

Raw nuts

Green cleaning products

It’s hard to be earth conscious and healthy and not break the bank!


EatingRD July 8, 2009 at 12:36 pm

I read that article too! I’m not so sure about the gulping part either, I always get stomach cramps, but maybe it’s consistent gulping, not just random that helps with gastric emptying. I think I eat too much peanut butter lol
I hate how expensive bars are, greek yogurt, organic milk, hemp seeds, nuts, wild alaskan salmon (I really hate this one!) I’m sure there are many many more :)


Cait (Cait's Plate) July 8, 2009 at 1:41 pm

DEFINITELY almond butter!! The organic stuff is like $18 a jar!! It’s so upsetting – I wish that stuff wasn’t so good!

My boyfriend ordered Chia Seeds from amazon and they were only $10.95! It’s a HUGE bag considering you don’t need to use much of them! Here’s the link: (http://www.amazon.com/Navitas-Naturals-Seeds-Aztec-Superfood/dp/B001CGTN1I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=grocery&qid=1247074853&sr=8-2)

Good luck!!


Chloe July 8, 2009 at 2:26 pm

The food products that I find to be the most expensive are the healthiest ones. Even produce can be expensive, and organic milk and meat is definitely high up there! My boyfriend has diet restrictions so he eats tons of natural peanut butter for good fat, as well as more protein than me so we spend our money on that. I’m happy to spend it on high quality items without added hormones or antibiotics, I just hve to choose carefully.

I’ll have to try Chia seeds, everyone keeps raving about them so they must be good.


[email protected] July 8, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Interesting Q&A!

I always splurge on organic heirloom tomatoes. I could eat them all day long, but they are sooo expensive, even now when it’s peak season!


N.D. July 8, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Funny you mentioned Amy’s – I just bought them. They are ok, defnitely more costly than other veggie burgers and overrated I think too! I agree w/ your list of overpriced items.


Ruth (Plentiful Plants) July 8, 2009 at 7:22 pm

I was shocked to see one day that chia seeds are $20/lb at the bulk barn! They’re $11/lb in most health food stored downtown, and $8/lb in the bulk food store in the basement of St. Lawrence Market. I think you should send Eric on a chia hunting mission after work :)


kasondra July 8, 2009 at 7:33 pm

i hate how expensive bars are!! all convenient foods are more expensive.


kasondra July 8, 2009 at 7:34 pm

oh and canned soups


Kim July 8, 2009 at 8:46 pm

I have to eat gluten-free, so lots of the specialty items I eat are $$. I try to eat healthy, naturally gluten-free foods to keep cost down, but those aren’t always cheaper.

I love almond butter, but it is $$. Love chia cereal, but again, $$! Also love Pure bars, but they are $$, too!


Still Life in South America July 8, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Angela, I can’t tell you how apropos this post is for me. I have been underfueling out of fear of nausea during my workout. But when I do two classes in a row, I definitely haven’t been getting enough to eat. Today I felt so weak I had to stop.

Thanks for sharing these tips!


Krista July 9, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Angela, I just bought a HUGE tub of chia seeds at costco for about eight bucks, they also have cases of clif bars and lara bars, cheap spinach, artisanal rye bread and this awesome individually packed greens and berry antioxidant powder that I take to work with me. I used to talk about how much I hated big box stores but you save a lot shopping at costco!


Ashley July 30, 2009 at 10:47 am

I know this is a really old post.. but as for the Kashi cereal. I live in Canada (Vancouver) and buy Kashi Go Lean and it goes on sale for $3.99 at Superstore (which is the same as Loblaws) and at Save On Foods. I’ve seen the big box of Go Lean Crunch on sale for $4.79 at Superstore before too (though that was really cheap).


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