Regular exercise is the corner-stone of building a healthy body and maintaining proper weight management. However, exercise puts your body to the test and getting the healthy energy needed to perform your best requires the proper pre-exercise nutrition. Whether you’re exercising to stay in shape or a top-level competitor, fueling your body with the proper nutrition before you exercise is vital in achieving any fitness goals.
Carbohydrate and Protein Importance
So what are the best ways to supply your body with energy for exercise? Fueling for exercise requires good quality carbohydrates, lean-proteins, and continual hydration. Good examples of quality carbohydrates include foods like breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables. All these provide a quick energy source to help your body throughout your exercise routine. Proteins are also vital to building and maintaining muscles as well as supplying healthy blood cells with the fuel they need. Blood cells are important for delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles in the body during exercise.
The Eye Test and Common Sense
Characteristics for a healthy pre-exercise meal should include:
- Low in fat
- Moderate in carbohydrates and protein
- Low in fiber
- Easily digestible
Any greasy or fried food is not quality fuel for your body, so when in doubt, go with the eye-test, if it looks heavy and greasy, then it’s not for you.
Cooling and Fueling
Similar to a car, food provides the gas to the body’s engine and in turn water (fluids) is the coolant that helps keep the body at a healthy temperature while functioning. Soft drinks or anything with significant dairy content are fluids to stay away from. Without proper hydration during exercise your body temperature can reach dangerously high levels. It is recommended that you should consume up to 16 ounces of water (2 cups) before engaging in exercise and always monitor your hydration. To further a balanced diet and help your body run as efficiently as possible when exercising it is important to supplement your intake with vitamins and minerals to ensure a balanced diet. A daily multivitamin taken each day can assist you in receiving the daily allowances necessary to help you with the energy needed to fuel your work out which will ultimately lead you on a path of good overall health!