Work it Out

Staying fit is more than just exercise. Proper nutrition is just as important and can help you get a better workout.

Here are a few things your can do nutritionally to increase the results of your workout:

Stay hydrated. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you drink around 16 or so ounces of water two hours before your workout for optimum performance and then sip water throughout your exercise program. Your first choice of fluids during a workout should be water – only use a sports drink if you intend to work out for longer than an hour because most sports drinks contain unwanted sugars.

Always eat before you workout. Your body will need fuel to exercise. Eating before your workout will also give you greater stamina and endurance. Just make sure you allow enough time to digest your food to avoid feelings of nausea while exercising.
Early morning: You should eat around 200 to 300 calories before your workout to avoid feeling dizzy or hungry while exercising. Bagels, raisins, bananas or a liquid meal like a sports drink or a high-carb beverage are all good choices. Stay away from fats and proteins since they take a longer time to digest. Also stay away from fruit juices; they absorb quickly but can cause a rise and fall in blood sugar, causing you to feel tired during a workout.

Lunchtime: Be sure to consume at least 300 to 400 calories around an hour prior to your workout. Again, stay away from fats and proteins. Good choices would be: Meal replacement shakes or bars, yogurt, fruit (fresh or dried) or a small bowl of oatmeal. Also, be sure to eat a balanced meal high in protein after your workout.
Evening: You should consume 400 to 500 calories around two hours prior to exercising. Good choices would be: cottage cheese and veggies or fruit with a whole grain muffin.

Get plenty of rest. You should get at least eight hours of sleep at night; this is when your body repairs itself. Also, you need to give yourself some recovery days during the week – working out too much can cause fatigue and lead to overtraining.
Eat after your workout. After you’re finished exercising, you should consume a carb and protein shake to replace the carbohydrates you burned and to help your body start to repair itself. Later, for dinner, eat a meal that balances your fats, carbs and proteins.

Do what you enjoy. There is no best exercise or best time of day to work out; it’s up to you to figure out what works for you. Try different types of exercises at different times of day to figure out what you enjoy the most. If you enjoy what you do, you’ll be more likely to stick with it. 

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