Fuel your obstacle race with these five food categories

By Amy Lewis

You’ve decided to go for it, challenge yourself, and find out what all the buzz is about obstacle racing. You’ve been training hard for the big day, but fueling up has left your head spinning as you search for the perfect way to fuel your body and mind.

To help you sort it out, I’ve put together a few simple guidelines to get you to the start, through the race, and over the finish line and beyond.

Remember, whole foods are key.  These foods are minimally processed, easily absorbed, and provide lasting energy for all of your obstacle racing needs.

Let’s break this down into categories so you can choose what you like to eat, and fuel up at the same time.

Carbohydrates: Don’t give up the carbs! Carbs fuel every cell in our bodies, and you certainly want this type of fuel on race day and beyond. You’ll want to make choices packed with fiber, that give you lasting energy. Good choices include: steel cut oats, Ezekial Sprouted Grain Bread, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and quinoa.  These foods keep you full longer providing a slow release of nutrients you need for best performance.

Protein: Lean proteins are a great choice to help with muscle repair. Each time we work out, there is a level of muscle break down. Your protein choices help to repair your muscle, and get you ready to take on the next obstacle. Good choices include: chicken, fish, lean beef, turkey, tofu, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese.

Healthy Fats: Yup, you read that right, fats are key in the protection of internal organs, and help to lubricate our joints for optimal performance. These nutrient dense choices will keep you feeling full longer, while giving you essential nutrients you need. Good choices include: coconut oil, avocado, flax seed oil, and nut butters. Remember to check portion sizes so you don’t get sluggish and overdo it with the fats.

Vegetables: Veggies are water-based, and since the human body is water-based, too, this is a great food to munch on. Veggies are also filled with fiber that scrubs your intestinal tract allowing you to absorb more nutrients. Dark green leafy vegetables provide essential nutrients; add color to your plate with tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and brussels sprouts also provide crunchy goodness packed with phytonutrients.

Fruits: Fruits are a great race day option.  These are absorbed and used quickly giving you the quick burst of energy you need on a demanding obstacle course. Fruits, also include water and fiber in a natural package, allowing your body to function optimally with the nutrients it needs.  Choose bananas, oranges, apples, and berries.

Race day

On race day choose a breakfast of steel cut oats, eggs (hard boiled, poached, or scrambled with coconut oil and broccoli or spinach), and a banana.

You’ll want to have plenty of fruit with you to quickly fuel up during the race. Try oranges, bananas, and berries for quick absorption and ease of transport. Fruit is made up of carbohydrates, which will fuel your muscles and help you perform your best.

You’ll want to continue with whole foods choices post-race for optimal muscle recovery.  Celebrate your success with foods that support your body instead of further breaking it down.  Choose a dinner complete with carbs, lean protein, veggies, and healthy fats.

Whether you are an obstacle racer, an endurance athlete, or a weekend warrior, you’ll want to fuel up properly.

Choose from each of the categories above and you’ll rock your race whether it’s your first one or another to test your fitness progress. You can do this!

Amy Lewis is a personal trainers and  the owner of Fusion Fitness, a group fitness studio in Killington, Vt.,

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