Have you ever heard about athletes “bonking” during an event? This is a term used to describe running completely out of energy during a race or event. In other words, they have run out of gas. To prevent this, athletes must load up on carbs before, during, and after their efforts. With almost 20 grams of carbohydrates in every tablespoon of honey, athletes need to seriously consider adding honey to their diet.
Eating Honey Before a Big Effort
Most sports nutritionists will tell their athletes to eat a carb-rich meal about 90 minutes prior to their workout or event. This allows the athlete time to process the meal and tap into those carbs during the effort. For an added boost, consider adding honey to pre-effort meals such as fruit and/or oatmeal.
Eating Honey During a Workout or Event
Anyone that has performed in a long run or bike ride knows that you sometimes have to eat on the go. The sports nutrition industry has made a fortune by creating conveniently packed foods that are easy to eat while exercising. Unfortunately, many of these foods are heavily processed and packed with ingredients that can actually create digestive problems.
Honey is the perfect substitute because it can be consumed just as easily as many of these “sports” food products. It can be put into a small squeeze bottle and eaten the same way one would consume a sports gel during an event or workout. It can also be added to your water to create a homemade sports drink.
Post Exercise Refueling
The first 30 minutes after a big effort are key to an athlete’s recovery. During this time, the athlete needs to consume both protein and carbohydrates to replenish his or her energy stores and help the muscles recover from the effort. Add honey to your usual protein shake and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.
Athletes will often have an adjustment period when adding or changing food items in their diet, especially for food being consuming during events. That being the case, you should gradually fold honey into your diet and use it on shorter efforts before introducing it to your race day routine. This will give your body time to adjust to the new energy source as well as giving you a better feel for how much you actually need to consume to maintain the same energy levels you had with your previous nutrition plan.