Are You Properly Fueling Your Body for Exercise?

 

Food is fuel. Without properly fueling your body before and after your workouts you can be left feeling listless and tired. Specifically, inadequate nutrition can:

  • Impair performance and adaptation

  • Lead to loss of lean mass

  • Compromise immune, endocrine, and musculoskeletal function

By eating a well-balanced meal 1-2 hours before exercise, and another well-balanced meal within 1-2 hours after exercise, most people can meet their workout nutrition needs.

 

A well-balanced meal should include healthy amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

  • Complex Carbs = Premium Fuel. These are the primary and preferred source of energy for the body. Examples include: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

  • Proteins are used for building and repairing the body. High quality proteins include: wild caught fish, organic poultry, grass fed beef, eggs, dairy, beans, grains, nuts, seeds, and soy. Most people need 1.0-1.1 g/kg per day, which can be met from balanced meals.

  • Healthy Fats are essential for hormone production, brain function, satiety, healthy skin and hair, and much more. High quality fat sources include fish, olives, avocados, nuts/nut butter, seeds, and healthy oils.  

Tips:

  • Plan your meals so you’re eating 1-2 hours before and after your workout. If not, plan to have a small snack before and/or after your workouts.  

  • Hydrate before, during and after a workout.

  • Limit processed foods and added sugars.

Examples:

  • Pre-workout snack ideas:

    • Oat/fruit combo

    • Banana and nut butter

    • Whole grain toast with nut butter

    • Roasted root veggies

  • Post-workout snack ideas:

    • Protein smoothie

    • Hard boiled egg with veggies

    • Hummus and veggies

    • Avocado toast with smoked salmon

 

Resources: Michelle Babb, RD, Precision Nutrition

 

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