Four Simple Energy Rules Before and After Workout

Energy and stamina don't come from sugar. Taking in simple carbs like sugar, corn syrup, pasta, or bread before an event will tend to cause a quick spike in your blood sugar followed by a corresponding fall, making you feel more exhausted than before. More than anything, simple carbs and excess complex carbs will make you sluggish and hamper your performance. If you want to create energy naturally here are four simple rules to follow:

1- Just before a workout (10-15 minutes or so), eat a piece of fruit such as an apple, plum, pear, citrus fruit (not juice), or berries (preferably berries).  They're great right before any workout, as they give you a small spike without the massive plummet.

2- Two to three hours before a workout, complex carbs, fats and a small amount of protein will do the trick. Sweet potatoes, oats mixed with a bit of coconut oil and whey protein, brown rice, olive oil, almond butter, flax oil, walnuts, almonds, and eggs are all easy to digest and can give you more sustained energy.

3- Post exercise, your body is nitrogen-poor and your muscles have been broken down. That's why you need amino acids from animal proteins like chicken, beef, and eggs, as well as vegetable carbohydrates. Whey protein is another excellent choice here.

4- Although many experts still recommend carb-loading before an endurance event, the fact is, burning sugar is not what happens over long distances. Carbs are stored in your muscles and liver in the form of glycogen that your body uses as fuel. Once this fuel runs out, fatigue sets in and your performance suffers. Your body actually starts burning fats after a short period of time. Therefore, rather than loading up on carbs, loading up on healthy fats and protein will typically improve athletic endurance.

Some athletes, including basketball superstars LeBron James and Ray Allen, have started taking this advice to heart—with excellent results. Other athletes jumping onto the high-fat, low-carb diet include Ironman triathlete Nell Stephenson, pro cyclist Dave Zabriskie, ultra-marathoner Timothy Olson, and former Ironman triathlete Ben Greenfield has followed a ketogenic diet while training for the 2013 Ironman World Championships.