Make Your Diet Work For You

| August 13, 2012

Daily exercise is a great way to stay healthy well into your golden years. When coupled with a healthy diet, a workout regimen becomes even more effective.

For those adamant about working out but unsure of how to maximize their workouts, the answer might just lie in your daily diet. Fitness fans who learn how to make their diets work for them often find their workouts become even more effective, improving both how they feel and how they look. The following are a few tricks of the trade for men and women who want to make their diets work for them.

  1. Don’t discard breakfast. Many men and women prefer to workout in the morning, when temperatures might be more amenable to a morning jog or gyms might be less crowded than during peak hours. However, morning exercise enthusiasts should know that a healthy breakfast before working out can provide them with more energy, leading to a more effective workout.
    Men and women who don’t eat before their morning workouts are bound to feel more sluggish, as the majority of the energy from the previous night’s dinner has already been used up. A light breakfast of whole-grain cereal or bread paired with low-fat milk an hour before working out can provide the added boost your body needs and make your morning exercise routine that much more effective. Fruit, including bananas or a few apple slices, can also do the trick. Just try to avoid working out on an empty stomach and give yourself enough time between eating and working out for the added energy boost to take effect.
  2. Don’t overdo it. A small meal prior to working out is generally the best way to go. You can workout after a large meal, but you’ll need to give yourself more time between eating and exercising, ideally several hours. If you like to workout after a long day at the office, eat a light snack, ideally an hour before you expect to begin your workout, so your blood sugar won’t be too low. In addition, a light snack before a workout might provide some extra energy that will come in handy when you hit that treadmill or start lifting those weights.
  3. Choose the right snacks. A snack before working is alright, just make sure it’s the right snack. A bag of potato chips, for example, is not an ideal preworkout snack, as it might produce an adverse effect, making you feel sluggish as you prepare to exercise. Fresh fruit, energy bars or drinks, granola bars or even a fruit smoothie will quell your hunger and help you maintain proper blood sugar levels.
  4. Find something to eat after you exercise. Eating after you exercise is also important. After working out, eating a meal with carbohydrates will promote muscle growth and recovery, restoring your fuel supplies that were lost during your workout. This will come in handy tomorrow when you want to work out again.
  5. Eating protein after a workout is also important. Doing so is beneficial when trying to build muscle, and protein also promotes muscle repair. Many fitness experts feel the meal after a workout is the most important meal of the day, but just be sure yours contains both carbohydrates and protein.
  6. Don’t forget fluids. Fluids are part of your diet as well, and they’re especially important when exercising. Whether your typical exercise routine is vigorous or not, you are going to lose fluids when working out, sometimes a large amount of fluids. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends men and women emphasize drinking fluids, ideally water, before, during and after their workouts. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day, but it’s very important to begin a workout with adequate fluids in your body and to replenish those fluids during and after your workout as well. Water is adequate for those whose workouts are 60 minutes or less, but choose a sports drink if you workout for more than an hour at a time. The sports drink will help you maintain your electrolyte balance and give you more energy as you’re working.

Diet and exercise make great bedfellows, and men and women can use their diets to make their workouts that much more effective.

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Category: Articles, Just for the Health of It

About the Author ()

Barbara is the publisher of People and Places Newspaper which she started in August of 2011. A lifelong resident of Schiller Park, she always felt it important that residents needed to be kept informed about their communities. Since newspaper coverage for Schiller Park stopped about twenty years ago, she made it a goal to bring a newspaper back to the area. She tries to include all of Leyden Township in her reporting and wants to keep true with the mission of the paper to "inform, educate and entertain."

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