The Nature of Performance

Pre-Race Nutrition


Pre-Race Nutrition

Pre race:  When you are exercising, your body relies on glucose for fuel.  Carbohydrates are the best source of glucose.   Before we go any further, I would like to explain what we consider to be carbohydrates.  True carbohydrates are fruits and veggies, oat or buckwheat groats, quinoa and wild rice.   Everything else falls into the fourth food group, “refined food”, and, technically, its not food. I get a kick out of people saying, “carbs are bad”.  What they really mean, is “refined food is bad” and we couldn’t agree more.

The items we listed below can be eaten in its raw state.   They can all be sprouted to keep the enzymes in the food – which is the most important nutrient to have present in your food prior to a workout.

  • Buckwheat groats,
  • Quinoa, and
  • Wild rice

The last thing you want to do during your workout is spend energy digesting food!

Digestion is the second most important function in your body next to survival so if you have food that’s hard to digest before a workout, your workout will suffer.  If you push that workout hard,  your body can go into survival mode and shut digestion down.  Just ask an Ironman participant and they will be happy to share their ‘intestinal issue’ story!

Timing is key!  Since digestion is so important, you want to make sure you don’t go into a race having to digest your pre-race meal.  If you eat the above suggestions, you could eat up to 20 minutes before the start.  If you eat an hour before the start, and it’s a long event, you may get hungry quick.  We recommend you have your meal an hour prior if its from the above list, then have some honey or dates 10 minutes before you start.

Never try something new just a few days before an event.  If you are in the early stages of training for a race, NOW is a good time to start to fuel for your workouts with lots of “True Carbs”.  Be careful when you start out, “True Carbs” are filled with fiber and it may take some time for your body to adjust the extra bulk.

Typically for morning workouts, we recommend a smoothie with coconut water, berries and a banana.  If you are trying to loose weight skip the banana.   We are also big fans of Buckwheaties, which are sprouted buckwheat groats mixed with cocoa powder and maple syrup and then dehydrated.   Put some of those in a bowl and cover with coconut water or use our chocolate milk recipe.  No better (or delicious!) way to start race day, than with raw chocolate!

Train Smart!

Buckwheaties Recipe

Quick and easy to make!

  • 2 cups buckwheat groats, soaked for at least 1 hour.  Note:  We like to soak them overnight and sprout them for extra protein.  To sprout, simply rinse them after soaking overnight and keep them in a strainer to rinse at least morning and night and DRAIN completely.  You will see little tails growing usually inside of a day or two.
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Or your favorite seasoning…I have used Chinese Five Spice or Pumpkin Pie Spice.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • Optional:  add 2 tablespoons raw cacao for Chocolate Buckwheaties

1.  Place the soaked buckwheat groats in a mesh colander to drain.  Rinse with fresh water to get rid of starchiness.

2.  Put the groats in a food processor and add all of the remaining ingredients.  Pulse until combined but still a little chunky…soupy oatmeal consistency.

3.  Divide between Teflex-lined dehydrator trays and spread to about 1/8″ – 1/4″ thickness.  Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 8 – 12 hours or until the top is dry and the Teflex can peel away easily.  Flip over and remove the Teflex to continue dehydrating for a few more hours or until it is dry and crunchy.  Break into pieces and store in an airtight container or ziplock.  Store in the refrigerator for maximum freshness.


Author Info

Tim Hawkins

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