Do you have a favorite pre- and post-workout snack? Our fitness editor recommends fueling properly after workouts to optimize your training and speed recovery. Before workouts, a light, easily-digestible breakfast or snack should give your muscles enough energy. While these performance-enhancing snacks sound dreamy, I tend to eat solid meals a 2+ hours before a workout, simply because I usually don’t have the bandwidth to plan meals and snacks. A bowl of pasta with veggies has never failed me! But this new finding in exercise science might turn me into a snacker, after all.
A new study by the University of Westminster researchers found that subjects ran 4.4% faster and further with a certain colored drink, compared to a clear drink. Both drinks were artificially sweetened and low in calories, and the runners only rinsed their mouths as opposed to actually drinking. The boost in performance came just from the perception of carb consumption and the psychological effect of the colored drink. The magical hue was: pink.
Previous studies had shown that rinsing the mouth with carbs can reduce the perceived intensity of the exercise and improve performance. Not only did the pink drink make the hard stuff feel easier, it almost made it more pleasurable. Dr. Sanjoy Deb, the corresponding author of the paper, says, “the influence of color on athletic performance has received interest previously, from its effect on a sportsperson’s kit to its impact on testosterone and muscular power.” It’s fascinating that something purely visual (as opposed to nutritional) has such palpable effect on your body, even hormones.
Great news is that you can harness the power of pink so easily. Why not try a pink smoothie before a workout, or even pink outfits? New, flattering workout clothes in pretty colors have certainly made me excited to get moving. Another sneaky idea: A pink water bottle or thermos can give the impression of sipping a power smoothie, even if you didn’t get around to making any. A pretty pink manicure would definitely distract from the pain of holding a plank!
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Photo: Mathilde Langevin via Unsplash; Alexa Pizzarello; Rens