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Water Is Key

A common misconception that many people have is that exercising should be coupled with saying no to food. This could not be farther from the truth. We need food to nourish our bodies especially before and after the rigors of exercise. However, in order to maximize the benefits that exercise brings to our bodies, we must partner this with the proper meals as well as its proper timing.
As a rule of thumb, we should eat a few hours before our scheduled exercise so that we have enough fuel to keep us going. If you exercise on an empty stomach, your blood sugar runs low and this may cause you to feel dizzy and lightheaded, especially if you are engaging in an especially strenuous activity such as a marathon. You should also drink fluids prior to the exercise, liquids that will make up for that which you will sweat. It also doesn’t help our exercise if every few minutes you feel the hunger pangs or you feel so thirsty that you can only think of stopping working out.

Here are some tips about exercise and food that will make your workout healthier.

Eat a healthy breakfast. If you exercise in the morning, wake up a few hours before your scheduled workout and eat. The food that you’ve eaten the night before would have been burned up during the night, and not enough energy would sustain you adequately in your exercise. Choose foods that are nutritious but are not too heavy, such as low fat milk and whole grain cereals, a fruit plate, eggs and whole grain toast. Coffee and tea are ok to drink before your workout, you should also drink a cup of juice or water to hydrate. Wait an hour or two after eating before you start your exercise routine to allow the food to be properly absorbed by your body. If you work out too quickly after eating, you may suffer from upset stomach. If you normally don’t eat before your workout in the morning, just try to at least have an energy drink prior to working out, or just have a bigger meal before going to sleep the night before.

Regulate the meal portions—don’t overeat before exercise! The goal in eating before exercise is to give you enough fuel for work and keep you hydrated. Eat just the right amount and avoid eating more than you can burn. Too much food can leave you feeling lazy and sleepy, and can cause stomach upset or cramps. Remember that if you eat a large meal, you should rest for about 3-4 hours before exercising. If you eat a small meal, you can exercise after 2-3 hours, and if you have a small snack (which is enough), you can exercise an hour after eating.

Snacks are enough to keep you going. The sugars from snacks are usually enough to keep you going through the average exercise session and it keeps the hunger pangs away. The best snacks are nuts, fruit cups, energy bars, granola bars, yogurt, crackers or smoothies.

 Eat after your exercise. Many people make the mistake of not eating after an exercise because they want to keep the weight away. But it is recommended to eat after exercising to replenish your body’s glycogen storage which helps your muscles recover. If you don’t feel hungry, at least drink an energy drink (which usually contain carbohydrates) or try some light snacks like yogurt or cereal bars.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. When it comes to exercising, keeping hydrated is essential. We lose a lot of fluids because we sweat during exercise, and this needs to be replenished. You can drink plain water or sports drinks for their fast acting rehydration properties (because of their electrolyte content) before, during (especially in long workouts) and even after your workout.