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Family Sports & Fitness

The Food/Exercise Connection

Choosing the right fuel for optimizing your exercise time is just as important as knowing when to fuel up. The key may be to develop a schedule for eating and exercising – whether it’s for yourself or your active kids.

To achieve top workout performance, your body needs quick energy, long-term reserves and the power to recover properly. Pre-workout meals and snacks can provide the energy you need to fuel you through your workout, while post-workout bites help your body replace the stored energy it used during exercise. Time your intake to match your exercise output and you’ve got a recipe for fitness success!

Before Exercise
If you eat a large meal, wait at least three to four hours before working out. You can get going two to three hours after a small meal. And if you’re hungry, it’s fine to eat a light snack right before you exercise.

Avoid sugary, fatty or high-fiber foods right before exercising because these foods take longer to digest (thus competing for your energy) and could cause stomach cramps during your workout.

  • Consider these light pre-workout meal ideas: a turkey sandwich on whole wheat
     bread; yogurt and fruit; cereal and milk; a baked potato with low fat cottage
  • For a pre-workout snack try: a piece of fresh fruit, a low-fat cereal or granola bar,
     a fruit smoothie or whole-grain crackers and peanut butter.

After Exercise

To replenish your energy stores after you exercise and help repair your muscles, eat a combination of carbs and proteins – not fats – within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. Many nutritionists suggest .25 - .40g of carbohydrates for every pound of your body weight. For protein intake, measure out .15 - .25 grams per pound. If you are significantly overweight, use your target weight to calculate these amounts.

  • Try these post-workout snacks: a stick of low-fat string cheese and 5 whole-grain
     crackers; nuts and dried fruit; a low-fat fruit smoothie.
  • Don’t forget to drink plenty of plain water!

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