Something I’ve been really slacking with lately is nourishing my body before a workout. Whether it’s going hiking in the forest, lifting weights at the gym or going for a run by the water fuelling your body pre & post workout is incredibly important for sustainable energy during your workout and increased recovery afterwards.
I created this recipe as a simple snack to have on hand for those early morning yoga classes or evening run. This recipe is incredibly adaptable so feel free to mix and match with the nuts and seeds you have on hand.
How to Fuel Your Workout
Essential Fatty Acids: Omega 6 & 3
When looking to optimize your performance and improve body composition, it is extremely important to understand the importance of essential fatty acids. As this macronutrient cannot be synthesized in the body, this means that it must be obtained through diet. Some of the primary benefits of EFAs are that they promote weight loss, control inflammation, and increase muscle protein synthesis. Conversely to mass media trends, there is conclusive research demonstrating that a diet high in EFAs, is directly linked to improved overall body composition. Great examples to try include: hemp, olive oil, avocado, grass-fed butter/ghee, salmon, sardines and flax oil. Another great source of fatty acids are medium chain triglycerides. Not only are they easily broken down through digestion, they assist the body in becoming metabolically flexible which helps to burn fat.
MCT oil is a medium chain triglyceride manufactured from coconut oil that provides the body with easily digestible fatty acids. Having this pre & post workout will substantially enhance overall performance by providing the body with an easily accessible energy source. MCT oil also helps adapt the body to become more metabolically flexible by burning both fat and sugar stores.
Cordyceps are a medicinal fungus used to increase performance in athletes. Primarily used as a pre-workout herb, cordyceps provide the body with immediate energy during aerobic fitness.
BCAAs (branched chain amino acids)
Amino acids are necessary building blocks for protein synthesis, especially 3 Branch Chain amino acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine. Some of the benefits of supplementing with BCAAs is that they increase recovery time, reduce muscle breakdown during exercise, support proper protein absorption, and decrease muscle fatigue. This is a great supplement to take before, during, and after workouts to maximize its effects. Another great benefit of BCAAs is that they help your body to metabolize fat, in turn, promoting healthy body composition.
Exercise puts the body into a state of stress. Athletes who train intensively for endurance performance are chronically elevating their cortisol (longterm stress hormone) levels every day. Glutamine is a considered a conditionally essential amino acid which means it is isn’t essential to our body until we become metabolically stressed and our stores get depleted. Common metabolic stressor include a high stress lifestyle, high intensity training, illness, or injury. Glutamine helps to support immune cells to fight off virus’ and bacteria. It also helps to stimulate growth hormone and protein synthesis all of which are necessary for healthy recovery. Another very important aspect of recovery is digestion. Glutamine helps to rebuild the intestinal tract, in turn, supporting our body’s ability to absorb nutrients necessary for recovery.
Carbohydrates are crucial for switching the body from a catabolic (breakdown) phase to an anabolic (building) phase. Nutrient timing has an important role in absorption, body composition, performance, and recovery.
Pre-Workout Energy Boosting Tips
In order to amplify your body’s fat burning ability, try eating a couple of these energy balls atleast 30 mins before your workouts. They can help to replenish your sugar stores and give your body the boost of energy it needs to fuel the workout.
Post-Workout Recovery Tips
Your post workout meal should include an abundance of complex carbohydrates to refuel your sugar stores. It is also important to include adequate protein and lots of healthy fats. Important to note that there is a two hours window when your body is able to best absorb and utilize the nutrients you give it. Try to make sure you are consuming your post workout meal within that time frame. These chaga energy balls are a great snack to have on hand post workout if you aren’t going directly home from the gym.
Exercise & Stress
High intensity exercise can be a huge stress on the body especially the adrenal glands. I LOVE taking different adaptogenic herbs everyday like ashwaganda, rhodiola, and licorice root to help my body naturally adapt to stress longterm. To learn more about adaptogens and how they can optimize your health check out my full post on “How to Beat Burnout.”
Check with your health care practitioner to learn how these supplements can support your fitness goals!!
Chaga Chocolate Energy Balls
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp MCT oil (option to use coconut oil instead)
- 5 large dates
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup coconut butter (I use Nutiva brand)
- 1 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1/4 cup coconut mylk
- 1 tbsp Chaga Chocolate Mushroom Coffee (Harmomic Arts “Kick Start” brand)
Optional health boosting add ins:
- 1 tsp ashwaganda (Sun Potion or Mountain Rose Herbs brand recommendation)
- 1 tsp cordyceps (Sun Potion or Mountain Rose Herbs brand recommendation)
- 1-2 tbsp collagen peptides (I use Organika or Vital Proteins brands)
- If you don’t have the Chaga Coffee on hand but want to to make this recipe feel free to add 1 tbsp of cocoa powder instead 🙂
- Add all the ingredients minus chocolate into a high speed food processor and blend until fully combined.
- Form into bite sized balls with your hands or an ice cream scooper
- Store in a glass lock container in the fridge for your workouts that week or double the the recipe and freeze them for the entire month.
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo @sarah.heavenor on Instagram so I can checkout your delicious creations
Sending you so much love,