What to Eat to Gain Energy for Your Next Race

When it comes to fueling muscles, you want the best sports nutrition. So what do you need to eat to gain energy? Your go-to fuel for race day should be carbohydrates. You can get carbs from specialty sports drinks, shots and gels, or tried and true foods like bananas or bagels.

How To Pick Foods You Eat

There are two important rules you should follow.

First, don't experiment with new foods or beverages on race day. Use training days to learn which foods and beverages your stomach and your metabolism can handle.

Second, for events that last longer than an hour, plan to re-fuel during the race. Use training sessions to identify those foods or beverages that are easy for you to consume while racing. That means you like the taste and the food is easy to chew, swallow, and digest without upsetting your stomach.

More7 Experts on Pre-Race Nutrition Essentials

Which Foods Provide the Best Energy?

There are plenty of options for high-carb foods: candy, fruit, sports drinks, special sports gels, bars, bread, pasta, cookies and pastries. Are specialty sports products superior to regular food? There is no research that shows any one food or beverage is superior. 

And there is no evidence that liquid carbs are superior to solids, as long as you also drink enough water. Sugars and starches are digested and absorbed by the same metabolic pathways, whether you eat a banana, a bagel, a sports drink or a sports gel. Once the carbs are in your system, your body doesn't care where they came from. How much carb you consume before and during the race is key. 

If your race start early in the morning, then try to consume high-carb food about 30 to 60 minutes before the start of your race. Keep your caloric consumption to 100 to 400 calories.

More: 10 Foods to Fuel a 5K

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