Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand: you really can’t just exercise and eat junk, or eat healthy and sit around all the time. Both of those methods are short sighted because even though you may look or feel fine now, the results will catch you in the long run. Sports nutrition is a vast subject that is based on many years of looking at the ways food, fitness and the combinations of both affect your health, for better or for worse. The good news is, all the research has provided athletes and people with the desire to eat healthy and maintain their fitness level a road map for how to combine eating and exercise in the best combination for you, whether you’re a body builder or a distance runner. Here are 5 practical suggestions for eating to fuel better fitness results, to ultimately achieve optimal health.
1. Protein fuels a short workout. If you are planning a workout of an hour or less, the only thing you need to be mindful of is that you will need healthy food to fuel your workout. Eat too little, and you’ll feel like it’s all you can do to make it through the workout, eat too much and you may opt for a nap and skip the workout! Eating a light meat that includes plenty of protein an hour or two before you begin will give your body the right nutrients, plus allow time for your digestion to do its job before you begin to sweat.
2. Intense muscle burning could use intensely colored fruit. Studies have shown that red grape, cherries, or pomegranates in juice form contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation in muscles and help repair the muscle damage that comes from intense muscle burning workouts. After muscle strength training, protein is the way to go: it helps your body fuel the process of rebuilding muscle tissue, and important function for people who are working toward stronger muscles.
3. Carbs are not an athlete’s enemy. If you are an avid athlete, you need carbs. In fact, carbohydrates actually work together with protein to give the best workout results. It is thought that they help the protein you take in get to your muscles quicker, which means it will help them grow quicker! Also, eating carbs before a long workout, or before exercise that requires a lot of endurance such as a marathon or race, will help your body get enough glycogen, which is the best form of energy your body can easily access.
4. Water is key to a good workout. In fact, water may be a weight lifter’s best friend. A 2008 study showed that weight lifters who were dehydrated produced more cortisol, the stress hormone, and less testosterone, which is one of your body’s best aids in building muscle. Also, in other sports, and especially in endurance events and training, being dehydrated can make your workout feel as though you are slogging through mud. You become fatigued more quickly and your body doesn’t have the means necessary to deliver post-workout nutrients to replenish you. Drink water before and throughout your workout, because if you begin to feel thirsty, it means you’re already dehydrated.
5. Lose fat with . . . fat? Healthy fats are known to boost your brain, but that isn’t all they’re good for. People who get enough healthy fat from omega-3′s actually reduced the amount of body fat on their body, plus they boosted good cholesterol and reduced triglycerides, when they took in almost 2 grams of omega-3′s a day and paired this with cardio exercise.