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Pre and post exercise eating

Does it really matter?

When was the last time you ate before starting your spin class or going for a five-mile walk? Do you prioritize a snack or meal after you finish your strength training class? Whether you are a weekend warrior, play competitive sports or a regular exercise enthusiast, you may want to re-think how you fuel your body before and after exercise. If you plan on exercising more than 30 minutes at a moderate to high intensity, grabbing a planned snack before your workout will help:

  • Prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Settle your stomach
  • Fuel your muscles
  • Help you exercise harder; increase endurance goals and metabolic rate

The fuel you need for workouts that are less than 60-90 minutes is a predominantly carbohydrate snack, such as:

  • 4-8 ounces of 100% juice
  • Piece of fruit such as a banana
  • Handful of dry cereal

When your workout is done, fuel is needed to replenish the muscle fibers that are torn down during exercise. If you don't eat a balance meal/snack after your workout, building muscle will be difficult. It's important to consume some carbohydrates and protein within the 30-60 minutes after your workout is finished. Try these options:

  • 16 ounces of chocolate milk with an energy bar
  • Fruit smoothie (1 cup of sweetened Greek yogurt +banana + berries) 
  • Turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with 1 cup of any fruit
  • 3 eggs, cooked with 1 cup of cooked oatmeal with ½ cup of fruit added

Once you start making nutrition part of your exercise plan and focus on fueling your workout and recovery, you will feel the benefits of energy and strength.

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