How you eat affects how you feel during and after exercise. That's why it's important to give your body the fuel it needs before and after you hit the gym. Here, Diet.com shows you how.
You don't need to be in the midst of training for a marathon to use these guidelines; you can apply them to your everyday exercise routine.
Step 1: Aim For Well-Balanced, Nutritious Meals Every Day
Your body doesn't run well on an empty tank or cheap gas. Eat three meals and two snacks throughout the day to keep hunger at bay and energy levels steady. Fill your plate with a balance of fruit and veggies, lean protein and healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains. It's also important to keep hydrated, so drink plenty of water. This combination of healthy eating and proper hydration can positively impact your performance during a workout.
Step 2: Nourish Your Body Before Exercise
A pre-exercise meal helps prevent low blood sugar levels and feelings of hunger during your workout, plus it provides energy to your muscles.
Three to four hours before hitting the gym, snack on complex carbohydrates, since they are easily digested and absorbed into the blood. Avoid high-fat and high-protein foods. You may also want to steer clear of high-fiber or gas-forming foods, as they may cause discomfort during exercise. Good examples of pre-exercise meals rich in complex carbohydrates are a bowl of Cheerios with non-fat or low-fat milk and a banana, and whole-wheat waffles topped with sliced strawberries and vanilla yogurt. Or, try this engine-starting breakfast recipe:
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 small orange, peeled and sectioned
1/4 cup low-fat granola
4 ounces non-fat or low-fat vanilla yogurt
Directions: Place yogurt in a bowl and layer with fruit and granola.
Nutrition Information: 286 calories, 7g protein, 62g carbohydrates, 3g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 6 mg sodium, 9g fiber