Eat properly to workout properly
Fueling your body before a workout is essential. By giving your body the nutrients it needs when it needs them, your body will digest and turn food into useable energy. It is important to know how to combine your nutrients to get the most out of your food. You can’t eat just anything and expect the same results.
Registered dietitian Lisa Money shared five tips to help you eat properly before exercising.
- Pre-workout nutrition is a key component of exercising. It is important to fuel your body with the energy it requires to perform. You should consume complex carbohydrates with lean protein and minimal amount of fat 3–4 hours before a workout.
- Carbohydrates are your body’s primary fuel and source of energy. Having an adequate amount of carbohydrates from grains, fruits, and low-fat dairy ensures your blood sugar is maintained and minimizes fatigue. Proper pre-workout nutrition prevents hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can cause dizziness, weakness and nausea.
- It is important to eat the proper type of carbohydrate. Before competition or a hard workout is not the time to be eating fiber-rich foods if you get nervous. Try eating carbs that digest quickly such as white bread, pretzels, fruit, low-fat white crackers, Gatorade, etc. Whole grains are fine if you are used to eating them, but for some it can lead to an upset stomach.
- Eating protein before a workout is only necessary if the time between your meal/snack and session will be longer than an hour. Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates so your food will stay with you slightly longer. However, too much protein or too much fat can be detrimental to your workout.
- If you don’t have time for a meal, make sure to eat a snack at least 30 minutes prior to a workout. The amount of carbohydrates to consume is determined by an individual’s personal needs, but in general a workout requires a snack of at least 30 grams of carbohydrates (1 banana).
Money shared these examples of nutritious pre-workout snacks.
- 1 hard boiled-egg, 1 slice of white bread and a handful of strawberries
- 6-ounce yogurt with low-fat granola and berries
- ¼ –½ cup low-fat cottage cheese with 1 cup of fruit
- 6 saltines with 1–2 tablespoons of nut butter and 2 tablespoons of raisins
- 1 apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and low-fat milk
“Choosing the right foods to eat before a workout is very important. You want to get the most nutrients possible out of your food,” said Money. Following these five tips on pre-workout fueling will help you to get the best results. And as always, remember to properly hydrate throughout the day.
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