Fueling Your Body for Exercise

Fueling Your Body for Exercise

I love to exercise and you should, too! What often keeps people from taking that grueling first step off their couch is that sluggish feeling you get right before a great workout; your body knows it’s in for it! But I’ve got just the thing that’ll help energize you and give your body the fuel it needs.

In addition to a weight training circuit, I normally bicycle 5 to 6 times a week. Three days a week, I push the intensity up, 2 days are moderate, and on Saturdays I ride mainly for endurance, about 40 or more miles. Whether you work out with the same intensity as me, or you’re starting to work out for the first time, it’s important that you properly fuel your body.

Your body needs the right amount of calories and nutrients to function. However, not all calories provide us with energy in the same way. Your body prefers carbohydrates and fats for energy, but will burn some protein as well. So, depending on your type of activity, you can tailor your calories to get the most out of your exercise! Isn’t that great? Of utmost importance are the nutrients you get from what you eat that turn those calories into available energy in your muscle cells.

During the Olympics, you probably heard about world-class athletes eating an enormous amount of calories. They also supplemented their diet with a lot of extra nutrition. They must, because they are pushing their bodies to extreme levels of performance. Most of us don’t need that type of very specialized diet and nutrition plan, so lets just look at how the everyday wellness warrior can easily do it.


Water is essential for life, but is also very necessary in making energy. Just a 2% drop in your body fluid level can give your energy a reduction of up to 30%! Think about that for a moment and make sure to stay hydrated for performance and safety.

Anaerobic energy

Anaerobic exercises include sprinting or even climbing the stairs where your gasping for breath requires more glucose (blood sugar) and glycogen (stored sugar). If you are breathing too fast to talk comfortably, you are in the anaerobic zone. The only way muscle cells can create energy in an anaerobic environment (meaning without oxygen) is by using sugar. The cells can’t metabolize fat without oxygen to keep up with energy demand, so the cell has no choice but to make it from sugar. Sugar is the favorite source of energy of our muscle cells.

Aerobic energy

Exercising in the aerobic zone (meaning with oxygen) allows your muscle cells to burn sugar, fats and some protein. This is exercise at a moderate pace. Our cells really love to use sugar and fats for energy. During moderate exorcise, once you get the body warmed up for 20 minutes, the muscle cells begin to burn more fat and less sugar. Our cells never want to get more than 10% of their energy from protein.

Diet’s effects on energy

How you eat every day definitely plays a role in your available energy. Foods rich in vitamins, minerals, heart-healthy fats, enzymes and antioxidants provide the nutrients that turn calories into energy. Additionally, they build health and prevent illness and disease. Most important are minerals, antioxidants and B vitamins. You can’t turn your fat stores into energy without a number of these nutrients.

Fueling for your event

If you know your exercise is going to be mostly anaerobic, then you need more available sugar from stored sources and from recent meals, snacks or drinks. Many people will load up on carbohydrates the evening before their exercise event to build up their glycogen (stored sugar) amounts. You can actually train your body to store even more glycogen through special carbohydrate-loading techniques.

Before I go for a high intensity or long duration bicycle ride, I make a NutriBlast. This keeps me going for up to 3 hours and, while I’m riding, I drink pure coconut water as needed. Coconut water is rich in electrolytes that are often lost during exercise. It also hydrates the body very quickly and gives some added sugar for fuel. Your body is going to burn a lot of stored fat during these types of exercises.

These recipes are for someone doing at least 45 minutes of moderate to intense exercise.

My Very Own NutriBlast

(Drink 30 to 45 minutes before activity.)

This is the recipe I personally use. It’s for high intensity/endurance; for moderate intensity, omit the banana and raw honey.

  • Vive energy for life 2 scoops
  • 12 ounces of coconut water
  • 1tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp. raw honey

Getting Fit

(Drink 45 to 1 hour minutes before activity.)

  • 2 ounces of organic rice bran and rice germ
  • 2 tbsp. of raw organic cocoa powder
  • 1 banana
  • ½ avocado
  • 12 ounces of coconut water
  • 1 tbsp. raw honey
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries
  • Use stevia if needed for additional sweetener.

Eat healthy and drink plenty of water everyday. Use your NutriBullet as an easy way to make exercise productive, easier, and more fun!

Healthy Wishes

Certified Nutritional Consultant

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