Eating healthy is necessary to provide the body with enough energy toengage in general everyday activities. While a proper diet will help fuel these activities, additional physicalexertion must be fueled by additional nutrition. “If you want to perform well, you have tofuel well,” says D.C. based fitness trainer Mansur Mendizabal.
Early morning exercisers face the biggest challenge, with typically lessthan an hour prior to a workout to consume something nutritious. If this is the case, Mendizabal recommendsconsuming a small meal full of easily digestible carbohydrates. Suggestions include bananas, apples, or asmall amount of yogurt. “A sports drinkmay even be appropriate,” adds sports nutritionist Suzanne Girard Ederle.
For those with difficulty consuming even small amounts of food early inthe morning, D.C.- based nutritionist Kristen Ciuba suggests consuming half thesnack prior to working out, and the other half after activity. Try half a piece of whole-wheat toast withpeanut butter before, then the other half afterward. Food should be consumed at least 30 to 40minutes prior to exercise, and the same amount of time post workout. If time allows, a full meal of carbohydrates,protein, and fat are better preparation for activity, but must be eaten atleast 2 hours before working out to allow the body time to digest.
After a workout, the muscles of the body work to repair themselves andproper nutrition helps this process along. The body requires carbohydrates toreplenish energy, and protein to aid in muscle regeneration. If time allows, eating a well-balanced mealwithin 30 to 60 minutes post activity is the best option. If not, try a snackof yogurt and fruit, or something with both protein and carbs.
As always, hydration is essential both before and after exercise toassist in muscle repair and replenish the water lost during exercise. Whether the goal is weight loss or justkeeping healthy, proper nutrition is essential for both health and to provideenough energy for physical activity.
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