By Team Best Life – TheBestLife.com
It may seem counterintuitive to take in calories before you head to the gym to burn them off, but eating a healthy bite beforehand can help you make the most of your workout. No matter what kind of activity you’re planning, you can use these tips to fuel up for fitness:
Eat when it feels best. Eating one hour before your workout is a good general rule, but everyone’s body is different. For instance, some people may feel uncomfortable or bloated trying to exercise after a snack or meal while others may be distracted by a rumbling tummy. Only you know exactly how much you can comfortably eat and how soon before your workout.
Keep track of carbs. Because glucose—a carbohydrate—is your muscles’ preferred source of fuel, you need to go into a workout with enough stored glucose (aka glycogen). If you eat a balanced diet, you should be all set. But if you’re hitting the gym hours after your last meal or snack, you might need a little carb boost; 15 grams should do the trick.
What 15 grams of carbs looks like: a cup of fruit, a slice of whole-grain bread, or ½ cup of plain low-fat yogurt topped with 2 tablespoons of granola. If you work out in the morning, these carbs are even more critical because your body will have depleted some of its carbohydrate store from the previous day.
Don’t forget the H20. Try to have one to two cups of plain old water before you work out and about a half cup every 15 minutes during. Can’t swing frequent water breaks? Just make sure to drink right after you finish. If you exercise longer than 60 minutes at high intensity and sweat a lot, you can gulp down eight ounces of a sports drink to replenish electrolytes.
Replenish important nutrients. Your muscles need sustenance, especially after a long or intense workout. Aim to have a snack or healthy meal anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours after you finish. A carb-protein mix is best; carbs provide energy while protein helps repair muscle. Try the following bites after your sweat session:
- ¼ cup of low-fat ricotta cheese, honey and 1 cup strawberries
- ½ cup of low-fat yogurt and fruit
- 1 cup of orange juice and 2 tablespoons of almonds or walnuts