Thursday, July 16, 2009

What to Eat When You Workout

In order to maximize your workout it is important to eat both before and after you exercise!

REMEMBER: your body requires calories to burn calories! Here are some guidelines for effectively fueling your body and recovering from exercise.

If you have 3-4 hours before exercise…
It is best to consume a meal rich in complex carbohydrates (whole grain bread, beans, or baked potato), lean proteins (tofu, lean poultry, or nuts), and healthy fats (olive, pure vegetable, or soy). At this point your body has enough time to digest a more complex meal before your workout.

SUGGESTION: Try a turkey sandwich with avocado, tomato, spinach, and mustard on whole grain bread!

If you have 2-3 hours before exercise…
This may not leave enough time for a full meal, but a small meal containing both carbohydrates and protein will stop hunger and fill your glycogen stores (your muscle’s primary source of energy).

SUGGESTION: Try some yogurt with low fat granola or some cottage cheese with fresh fruit.

If you have 1 hour or less before exercise…
This is the time to eat foods that are easy to digest, low in fat, and rich in carbohydrates.

SUGGESTION: Try a piece of fresh fruit, an 8oz fruit smoothie, or a small granola bar.

Foods to avoid right before exercise…
Any food with a high fat content should be avoided right before a workout. High fat foods stay in the stomach a long time because they are difficult and slow to digest. Our bodies put a lot of energy into digestion, causing the blood flow to the stomach to greatly increase. This can result in cramping or discomfort during exercise.

*Remember that each body is different and what works for you many not work for someone else. Test a variety of foods and see what works best for you!

After exercise…
Refueling your body will encourage recovery and guide you toward a better future workout. Timing is important for recovery because your muscles replace their glycogen stores within the first few hours after you exercise. If your next meal is within an hour of exercise, use that meal to refuel. If your next meal won’t be for an hour or two, eat a small snack of around 200 calories within 30 minutes after workout. Make sure to include both protein and carbohydrates for maximum recovery!

Don’t forget to hydrate!
(For more hDrink 2 cup (16 ounces) of fluid up to 2 hours before your workout. During exercise drink 8-10 ounces every 15-20 minutes to replace lost fluids and prevent dehydration. After exercise make sure you replace all fluids lost during your workout. To determine how much you need weigh yourself before and after exercise, and drink 2 to 3 cups (16-24 ounces) of fluid per pound lost.

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