what to eat before and after exercise

the food you eat before and after your workouts can either minimize or maximize your athletic performance. here are some tips.

Be a Carbohydrate Champion
Carbohydrates are converted to sugar that is stored in the form of glycogen as future fuel for our muscles. When the time comes to sweat it out, our muscles are able to use this sugar for energy without getting fatigued. After a strong workout your body will need more carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen stores and minimize protein loss.

The best carbohydrates will provide you with adequate fiber, B vitamins, and iron for energy metabolism: fruits, cereals, cracker, and breads. See pre-workout menus below!

Pump Up with Protein
If you seek sleek muscle tone, become pals with protein. It is essential for promoting tissue growth and repair. After a strength-training session your muscle fibers will require this nutrient to help you in building, repairing, and synthesizing new muscle.

Power up with these proteins: low-fat dairy, nuts, seeds, fish, poultry, beans, legumes, and eggs. Bonus Tip: Consider trying High Performance, a combination of unique food herbs, exotic seeds, and wholesome grains that provides the high quality of energy necessary for sustaining an active lifestyle.

Forego the Fat
Although fat provides our body with energy, it is slow to digest to be converted to useable energy. Large amounts of oxygen are required to turn fat into fuel, so save the ice cream for a later treat!

Before you slip on those sneakers make sure to avoid fatty, fried foods that will zap your energy.

Step Away from the Sugar
It is best to refrain from consuming refined sugars that will increase your insulin levels and cause a rapid rise and drop in your blood sugar.

Sugar snafus: sweet beverages, candy bars, sweet cereals and yogurts, and sugar-laced granola and power bars

Put Your Pre- and Post-Workout Eats into Practice
You probably already know it is best not to exercise on a full stomach to prevent cramping, nausea, and an upset stomach. Also, the time and intensity of your workout will often determine what you should eat and drink. A ten-mile marathon will demand more energy than a casual cycle around your neighborhood.

Two hours before a workout, eat a small meal (choose one of these):

  • 1-1/2 cups of whole grain cereal (carb) + 1 eight oz glass low fat milk (protein + carb) + 2 tbsp dried cranberries (carb)
  • 2 scrambled eggs (protein) with spinach and mushrooms + 1/2 whole wheat English muffin (carb)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (carb and protein) + small mixed green salad
  • Whole grain toast (carb) with 1 tbsp nut butter (protein)
  • 1 cup of whole grain pasta (carb) with 1/2 cup garbanzo beans (protein + carb)
  • 3 oz turkey breast (protein) + lettuce and tomato + 2 small whole grain crackers (carb)

One hour before a workout, snack on (choose one of these):

  • small banana (carb)
  • 1 cup low-fat, unsweetened yogurt (protein)
  • 1/2 cup fruit and soy or almond milk smoothie (carb + protein)
  • 1/2 cup trail mix with nuts (protein), seeds (protein), and dried fruit (carb)

One hour after a workout

It is best to eat within one hour after completing your workout in order to optimize muscle recovery. The highest rates of muscle glycogen synthesis occur during the first hour after exercise. Your body’s metabolism is also working at its best right after exercise so don’t wait too long to feed your belly. Your meal should contain both protein and carbohydrates, such as any of the above-mentioned foods. If you don’t have time to eat, a glass of low-fat milk is a good choice, with enough protein, carbs, and electrolytes like sodium and calcium.

Remember to replace lost fluids by drinking water after you exercise to prevent dehydration. For exercise lasting more than 90 minutes aim to have one quarter to one half cup of water every 15–20 minutes. This will also help prevent fatigue while you are working out.

read article from Yahoo! Health by Dr. Maoshing Ni: Power Up: What to Eat Before and After Exercise

learn more from Dr. Ni’s book: Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100 and The Natural Health Dictionary


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