BY GREG LARAIA (ATC)
The world of fueling and sports nutrition supplements is huge! There are a lot of different types of on-the-run fuel, and then even many different brands within those options. Types of nutrition vary depending on your event, your workout, the day of the week…. you name it and there is a fuel for that.
Right now this is the perfect time for you to go out and experiment with what will work for you. There are different options to consider: electrolyte powders or tablets, protein powders, classic gels, caffeine gels, electrolyte boosted gels, bars, and even gummies.
Your main goals are to find a brand that sits well with your stomach during your activity, and that you actually notice a difference when using it. Generally speaking, I recommend trying one type of fuel at a time. You can test out electrolyte drinks before, during, and after runs, and use gels during those longer efforts. If anything causes cramping or GI distress, maybe that one isn’t for you. Don’t put yourself in a box–try some classic types, “all-natural”, and caffeine. These same principles apply to post-run fueling; use what works best for your body!
For example, I use Science in Sport (SiS). I use their electrolyte powder mix before a run and sometimes after the run to rehydrate. I use their gels because they are a water mix that I find easier to “drink” and digest instead of chewing while running. I use the SiS protein powder after long runs and workouts to replenish the bigger losses with these runs. This is just what works for me, but it may not work for you!
Again, this is the perfect time to test out different types of fuel and different brands because there aren’t any races on the calendar! I highly recommend gels for longer runs (10+ miles) and something more substantial, such as a smoothie or shake, for post-run refueling. Remember, none of these are meal supplements, they are meal compliments! Make sure you are not cutting out meals just because you had a protein smoothie after your workout. These fueling tools are simply additions to help you maintain baseline and keep you from falling below that.
If you have specific questions, shoot me an email or DM anytime!