Fueling Your Workout the Right Way
Fueling your workout is important so you can train properly and recover sooner. Unfortunately people consume far too many calories compared to what is burned during a workout. For a 180 pound male, running a 10 minute mile would burn 120 calories and a vigorous bike ride would burn 140 calories every 10 minutes. Compare this to an energy bar that contains 220 – 280 calories and smoothies can contain 350 to 400 calories. It can be very easy to overeat before a workout that will derail your attempt to get results.
Here are a few guidelines for fueling your workout and avoiding the calorie trap.
Fueling Your Morning Workout
Morning workouts are usually low intensity like biking, golfing, walking, or yoga. With lower intensity comes less energy requirements. All you need is a smaller carbohydrate-rich snack and a good source of fluids. Try 16 oz of water and a small bagel or breakfast bar. With your body fasting all night, you need enough energy to get you going but not so much that you over eat. Post workout should be a healthy breakfast including protein and carbohydrates. Good choices would be oatmeal and berries with fat-free milk or whole grain toast, a hard-cooked egg and real fruit juice.
Fueling In the Evening
For those like me, I prefer to workout later in the day. That means you need to adjust your eating time accordingly to fuel your workout properly. Eat your mid-day meal 3 to 4 hours prior to your workout. Lean protein like grilled chicken in a salad or a turkey breast sub sandwich are great choices. Right before your workout, eat a snack 15 – 30 min like grapes, an orange, or banana but also drink plenty of fluids to hydrate your body. For longer, higher intensity workouts (over an hour) drink a sports drink which will add some calories otherwise drink water. For humid climates, consider keeping water and a sports drink handy to fuel your workout while you train.
It is important to re-hydrate your body with water after a workout. Eat a snack high in protein and carbohydrates to start the muscle recovery process within 30 minutes of ending your training. Chocolate milk is a good choice with a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein. Other choices are cheese and whole wheat crackers or Greek yogurt.
One of the worst things to do in fueling your workout is to skip meals especially breakfast. A lack of calorie intake will mean you will feel sluggish in your workout and not get the results you want. On top of that, you will be so hungry after your workout you are far more likely to overeat.
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