Top Food Choices to put Spring into Your Step
Spring is here and with it comes a sense of rejuvenation and gearing up for improving personal health and fitness. Increased daylight encourages more time outdoors, easier drives to the gym and signing up for more fitness classes. Proper fuelling for exercise is often overlooked and eating a healthy diet and getting enough of the right calories to support activities are essential for good health and building fitness.
Here are some tips to incorporate before and after exercise to keep you on track whether you are looking to lose weight, increase fitness or simply stay healthy.
Drink 16-20 ounces of water 1-2 hours before exercise to ensure proper hydration. Always carry water on you when exercising to re-hydrate and remember to drink water following your workout. If you are exercising in high intensity heat, add sports drinks or electrolytes to promote hydration and help with your body’s natural cooling system. The blend of sodium and potassium contained in sports drinks and electrolytes helps absorb the fluid into your body and also replenishes the fluids lost in sweat.
Think about eating 100-300 calories before working out that are a mix of protein and complex carbohydrates. By choosing to exercise hungry, you risk feeling tired and sluggish and can even feel dizzy from low blood sugar. Protein will help build muscle, while carbohydrates act as quick energy to your body during exercise. Some examples of pre-workout snacks include:
• Banana and individual serving of Greek yogurt
• ¼ cup steel cut oatmeal with cinnamon and blueberries or dried cranberries
• ½ turkey sandwich (whole grain bread)
• Raw veggies and hummus
• ½ low fat and low calorie whey protein bar
Avoid high fibre:
Although fibre is a necessary part of a complete diet, it should not be consumed before exercise. Fibre takes longer to digest and in turn can cause an upset stomach and bloating during exercise. Fibre also takes longer to deliver energy and in turn can leave you feeling sluggish. If you are looking to consume more fibre in your diet, try eating it after a workout as it will leave you feeling full longer.
Post Workout Protein:
Consume protein after a workout because it will help muscles recover and grow. Good sources of protein include a hard boiled egg, glass of chocolate milk, or even consider purchasing a whey protein shake blend. Remember that 10-20 grams of protein is sufficient following exercise and any excess protein consumed that is not absorbed by the body gets turned into fat.
One of the easiest and most delicious ways to improve fitness comes from eating the proper foods to fuel your body. Incorporate these easy techniques into your daily fitness routine and you will begin to reap the rewards.
By Sarah Bamber