Diet Is Important For Proper Exercise

Dr. Sue Travis at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, says that in order to exercise, you have to have energy. Where can you get this energy? Well, it’s common knowledge that energy comes from food. Is there a right and wrong food to be eating though for exercise? Absolutely, and below you can see the types and amounts of food you should be eating in order to optimize your exercise routines.
Having the Right Diet for Exercise Is Critical
How much food you need to be eating will be different based on your age, weight, sex, and normal activity level. This is partial because a number of calories that you burn are not only dependent upon the types of exercises you do, but also how hard you are doing the exercises.
Dr. Travis also emphasizes that it is extremely important that your calorie consumption is split among protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates typically come in the forms of sugars and starches. The sugars and starches are digested by the body and then converted into glucose. Glucose is then used by your bodyís muscles for energy. Excess carbohydrates are converted and stored in the liver as glycogen which is released as your body requires it. Glycogen is what provides energy during prolonged endurance and high-intensity workouts. What are some great sources of carbohydrates? You can find carbohydrates in whole-grain bread, many different vegetables, whole grain cereals, fruit, pasta, and rice.
Protein: It is essential when exercising to have a diet rich in protein. This is because protein will slow the absorption of carbohydrates by your body down significantly. What are the top sources of protein in your diet? Protein abundance can be found in meat, chicken, eggs, fish, beans, and lentils. You want to try to consume about 3 ounces of protein containing foods every meal.
Fat: Fat is supposed always be bad, right? Not necessarily, and according to Dr. Travis, you will need fat in your diet as well. You should try to obtain your dietary fat from sources such as low-fat dairy products and lean meat cuts.
According to Dr. Travis, you should always try to have a varying combination of all three nutrient groups listed above with every major meal. An example of a healthy breakfast containing these nutrients would be a high-fiber cereal (such as whole-grain cereal or oatmeal), low-fat dairy such as 1% or skim milk, and a glass of juice or a fresh fruit such as an apple or banana. A quick healthy lunch would be something along the lines of a sandwich with lean meat, fish, or poultry on a whole-grain bread, and couple this with fresh fruit and raw veggies on the side.
While substitute food such as energy bars or protein bars can be useful, it is important not to use them as a full meal replacement, warns Dr. Travis. Look for bars that are low in sugars while having at least 10 g of protein and a few carbohydrates. You should avoid products that have a very high protein count but fall very short in their carbohydrate content.
Your Meal Timing Is Just As Important As Your Meals
If you are typically exercising early in the morning but not eating beforehand, you can quickly use all of your stored energy early on in your workout. If you prefer not to eat breakfast prior to exercising, try to eat at least a small piece of fruit before you begin your workout routine.
If youíre planning to have a very strenuous workout, you should consume a meal that is high in carbohydrates 3 to 4 hours prior to working out. You should also select foods which are easily digested and Dr. Travis suggests experimentation with different foods in order to determine which foods will give you the most energy.
Fluids Are Also Important
Perhaps the most important thing to always do is to ensure you are drinking enough fluids before, during, and after your workouts. If you are doing strenuous exercise, you should try to consume fluids even when you do not feel thirsty.
What are the best fluids to consume? Well, water is, of course, the best choice for most activities. If youíre going to be exercising continuously for at least 90 minutes or longer, you may want to consider drinking a sports drink as they contain electrolytes as well as carbohydrates. The key thing to remember is that sports drinks are specifically created for people who enjoy long endurance based workout regiments. For the average person beginning an exercise routine, sports drinks are not necessary and will simply add empty calories to your diet.
Be certain that the drinks you are consuming do not contain caffeine as caffeine is dehydrating. Dr. Travis recommends that you consume an equal amount of water if you are drinking coffee or any other caffeinated beverages.
Whatís the bottom line of fueling up for exercise? Well, basically if you are consuming enough fluids, eating healthy, regular well-balanced meals which include protein, carbohydrates, and fat, you will have all of the energy required for your upcoming workout plans.