Fueling For Your Endurance Exercise

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Over the last 10 years, I have developed a passion for playing floor hockey. In my position as goaltender, the demands placed on my body are variable. The levels of intensity associated with such demands are influenced by multiple factors. The number of players on the floor (4-on-4, 3-on-3), the amount of substitute players available, the length of time each game is played, the size of the gymnasium, and overall energy level of everyone involved all determine how much energy I expend during a floor hockey session. Regardless of those variances that challenge me each week, I found a general lack of consistency with my level of energy through the 90 minute session.

Aside from the obvious lack of conditioning in the early part of each season, or the fact I may play after a mentally/physically taxing day at my massage therapy clinic, I discovered that even on my most energetic days I seemed to loose steam after the first game (avg. 3 games during a session). Through the 2nd and 3rd games my energy level would drastically sway to and fro, putting  forth my best impersonation of imitating a sieve holding water.

Earlier this year I began to a personal experiment. I chose to re-evaluate the food and nutrients I consumed before and during a game. After consulting online articles listing food ratings associated with the glycemic index (and glycemic load), and receiving input from colleagues and friends, I found myself trying different combination of food sources, volumes and time of consumption. Some of these efforts promoted a more sluggish affect, whereby the group of players found that they could score on me from any area of the gym. Others practices gave me the initial energy boost I was looking for followed by a longer lasting energy level that was easier to maintain through the 90+ minutes.

Here is what seemed to work best for me….

Morning:

– 2 eggs on 2 slices of un-buttered whole wheat toast, with an extra half slice topped with peanut butter, OR

– “Huevos Rancheros” (1 whole wheat tortilla under a thin layer of re-fried beans, under a conservative layer of shredded, light cheddar cheese (melted), under 2 table spoons of salsa, a dash of Tabasco sauce, and topped with 2 eggs w/ extra egg white), OR

– Bowl of high protein and whole grain cereal (i.e. Vector, Just Right) in skim milk, OR

– Bowl of oatmeal with a scoop of whey protein powder, 1 TBSP of ground flax, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and handful of raisins or diced apple.

Mid-Day:

– Peanut Butter sandwich (w/ 2 slices of whole wheat bread), AND

– Snacks (of any variety but small-moderate in volume and dependent on the size of breakfast consumed that morning).

Evening: (consumed approx. 45-60 minutes before game time)

8-10 TBSPs of plain yogurt mixed with 1 banana and Vector cereal OR 8-10 TBSPs of cottage cheese with 1 apple (diced) and 1 banana.

During the game:

– Water

– Gatorade, and

– 1 Orange (sometimes) consumed between games.

For all of you endurance athletes (runners, cyclists, triathletes, etc.), or those of you with a general curiosity, check out this article on fueling your body for optimum performance during your endurance activity. Some of the content can be tweaked to fit your exercise routine, diet restrictions, and weight loss goals. I also recommend consulting a dietitian or nutritionist to further evaluate what works best for your body.

As for myself, I’m still continue to tweak my meal plan for game days. Nonetheless, I have found that maintaining energy through my endurance exercise has become easier and more consistent since making adjustments to my pre-game meal regimen. Now, if only I can find a more consistent glove hand or ability to plug the 5-hole. :o)

What seems to have worked for you and your exercise of choice? Please feel free to comment and share with us your success stories.

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