Orange juice is synonymous with breakfast, but is it a good thing to have before a workout?
A refreshing glass of orange juice can fit into any part of your day, and it has basically everything your body needs to power through a workout. During endurance activity, the body uses quick acting carbs, like the ones found in fruit, as fuel.
Since a glass of 100% orange juice is made from just oranges (and no added sugar), the sugar from the fruit is quickly digested to provide energy. It’s the ideal fuel to have 15-30 minutes before a workout to provide quick sugar into the blood stream.
Plus, a glass of 100% OJ provides plenty of potassium, an important electrolyte that aids in hydration. So if you’re in a real hurry and don’t even have time to chew, opt for an 8-ounce glass of OJ before a workout.
Other things you can do with OJ
If you don’t feel like drinking a glass of OJ before a run, bike, swim, etc., try these creative ways to get your morning fruit.
Frozen Orange Banana Cubes
The only thing better than a glass of 100% OJ are revitalizing frozen orange banana cubes. Make these delectable treats by blending ½ a banana and 1 cup of 100% orange juice, place the liquid in an ice cube tray and wait for it to freeze.
Eat them whole or drop them in some water or seltzer. The combo of orange juice and banana offers a ton of easily digestible carbs and potassium, and they won’t fill you up or weigh you down! They especially make a really great treat before a sweaty outdoor summer workout.
Have a tougher workout on the docket? Granola is perfect for longer workouts, like a long bike ride, laps in the pool or a longer training run. Because oats take a bit longer to digest than fruit, they provide long lasting energy.
Many granolas on the market are loaded with sugar and additives, so why not try making your own? Try my homemade Pumpkin Pie variety for a warm and cozy taste or this Tropical Granola for a more summery vibe.
Homemade Orange Sports Drink
When I first started running marathons, I knew that I needed to use a sports drink while running, but I couldn’t find one that I liked. With a little experimentation, I came up with my own recipe, and holy cow–it’s so simple and tasty! [Watch my video tutorial on how to make a homemade sports drink].
All you need are the 3 standard sports drink ingredients–fluid, electrolytes and carbs. For an orange juice rehydration drink, combine 4 ounces of 100% OJ with 8 ounces of coconut water and a pinch of salt. It’s as simple as that! This pre-workout snack won’t overload your belly with tons of food, but it will give you all the energy you need to reach your best.
Duh! Since orange juice comes from an orange, you can also eat the good old fashioned fruit. Oranges are known for their Vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant to fight against post-workout inflammation
Downsides of drinking OJ before a workout
For some people, OJ works perfectly as a pre-workout beverage. But for others, the acid in the fruit may bother your stomach. If you suffer from any sort of GI issues, like reflux, heartburn or irritable bowel, orange juice may upset your stomach during a workout.
The best thing to do is to give it a try and see how your stomach reacts. If OJ upsets your stomach, it might not be the best pre-workout fuel for you.