Many people mistakenly believe that if you exercise on an empty stomach, you will burn more fat and more calories. Would you take a road trip in your car without putting gas in it? Of course not! The truth is that your body needs energy in the form of carbohydrates to keep it going efficiently during and after your workout–without it, you may feel tired and drained. Follow these three tips to stay fueled during your next workout:
1. Timing is Everything! It is better to wait 30-90 minutes after eating before exercising. This gives your body enough time to process the nutrients, making them usable for your body as an energy source before you hop on the treadmill or bike. However, if you are stretched for time, commit to a shorter exercise session rather than miss it altogether; SOME exercise is better than none!
2. Don’t Skip the Carbs! Carbohydrates are the best fuel for your muscles and the prime source of energy for your workouts. The best source for carbs are whole grains, fruits and vegetables–foods you should be eating anyway as part of your balanced diet. Add a small amount of protein for your muscles and a small amount of healthy fat for satiety and you are set. For example, 2-3 whole grain crackers with all natural peanut butter, 1 cup of plain yogurt topped with fresh fruit, or an apple with a slice of cheese are all great examples of small snacks to eat before your workout.
3. Drink Smart. Plain old H2O goes a long way before, during and after you hit the gym. There is no need to try to chug an entire gallon of water before you hop on the treadmill; if you are drinking water regularly throughout the day, then you will probably be well hydrated for your workout. Drink when you are thirsty while you are exercising and read the labels should you choose a sports drink instead of water. Unless you are working out intensely for more than an hour, you are probably wasting your money (and calories) since water will serve your purpose of staying hydrated.
Stay energized for your next workout and do your body a favor by having energy available to use! No need for the exztra calories from your favorite energy drink, water is more than suffiecient to keep you hydrated. Before your next workout, consider the timing, quantity and quality of your nutritional intake.
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