Pre-workout eating for several hour workout

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 09, 2011 at 11:13 PM

Hi there,

Just started on the paleo diet today. How should I approah my hardest training day of the week in terms of pre-workout meals? It starts at Noon on Saturdays and lasts until 4:30 and consists of stretching, cardio and bodyweight resistance training and is quite intense.

This is part of a martial arts class and is not an optional workout set by me.

Thanks in advance.

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on December 09, 2011
at 11:37 PM

Assuming you get everything else working properly, you'll want to look at getting your glycogen stores up by eating good carbs like sweet potatoes and squash etc. 2-3 hours before your workout, plus some protein of course. From what I recall of Cordain, if exercising over 90 minutes but less than an ultra-marathon then your best bet during the activity is glucose in liquid form plus hydration. Whatever works for you.

It will take some time to adjust, and it's important to spend time exercising without carbs when you can. This will accelerate the progress your body makes in being able to burn fat efficiently at increasingly high intensity levels. Once you get into it, the 'carb-loading' is only necessary because if you're fully depleted of glycogen then you won't be able to do anything much. But ideally you should be able to run a good while on one 'tank' of carbs, and you won't learn to do that if you keep relying on them being freely available. So I'd suggest giving yourself a few weeks to adjust to the new diet and use good carb sources around your workouts, and then try dropping them and adding them back in as necessary to get the desired performance. At the end of the day you could do it all fasted, it depends what you want to gain from the workout.

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