FEATURE – As the weather has gotten warmer, many find motivation to amp up their fitness. It’s important to remember that food fuels fitness; what you eat will impact how you perform. You need to pre-fuel and refuel, meaning that you need to eat before and after. Here are some general guidelines to get you started.
- Hydration – Weigh yourself before and after your workout. The difference will be the amount of water lost through sweat. For every pound lost, drink two cups of water. This will ensure adequate hydration. Your urine should be clear or pale yellow, another sign that you are drinking enough water.
- Pre-fuel – Consume a small amount of complex carbohydrates right before a workout. A small piece of fruit may be all you need. If you have two or more hours before your activity, try to eat a balanced meal of protein and complex carbohydrates (for instance, toast with peanut butter and fruit) to ensure adequate energy.
- Energy – For workouts lasting longer than an hour, you want a carbohydrate source during the workout. I usually recommend my clients dilute tart cherry juice concentrate in water (with added electrolytes if you are a heavy sweater.) Tart cherry juice is a powerful anti-inflammatory that has been shown to reduce the effect of delayed onset muscle soreness and aid in recovery from exercise. It is also an effective treatment for arthritis, showing a more powerful effect than some prescription medications.
- Refuel – Be sure to eat within 30 to 45 minutes of finishing your workout. A post-workout meal or snack should, once again, be a balance of protein and complex carbohydrates. A bowl of oatmeal with nuts and fruit, salmon with quinoa and vegetables or a salad with beans, seeds and fruit are all great options.
- Consistency – What you eat when you aren’t exercising is just as important. Regular, balanced meals will ensure you have the energy for each and every workout. Balanced meals full of nutrient dense foods will deliver vital nutrients to each cell of your body. This is key to health, fitness and vitality.
Written by Emily Fonnesbeck for St. George Health and Wellness magazine and St. George News.
Fonnesbeck is a registered dietitian and received her degree at Brigham Young University. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and belongs to the practice groups of Integrated/Functional Nutrition, Weight Management and Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition. She has a certificate in Adult Weight Management and is a certified LEAP therapist. As a member of the research team at Chrysalis Clinical Research, she also counsels diabetic patients. Formerly, she worked at The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge in Ivins where she taught lectures, led private consultations, managed meal plans and traveled to speak for corporate wellness programs. She had the pleasure of assisting many resort guests and former Biggest Loser contestants in finding what nutritional meal plan works for them.
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