I hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! Today I want to talk about how important it is to eat for energy, especially when you’re exercising regularly.
Consistent exercise is very important, but I wanted to share another huge piece of this puzzle: the food I eat to fuel my exercise. I learned the hard way that if you don’t consume the right fuel, you will not have optimum results. And by the hard way, I mean BONKING. That is no fun at all in the middle of a group cycling class!
After that moment that may or may not have actually happened (it did), I started doing some research. I found this great article by a Mayo Clinic doctor published in the Chicago Tribune that explains how to do it right. Basically do the opposite of what I was doing!
Here are the five ways to eat for energy in a nutshell:
- Eat a healthy breakfast. The doctor recommends eating at least an hour before you start sweating and to focus on complex carbs.
- Size matters. Don’t eat a burger right before you work out! Ok, the article doesn’t say this exactly, but it’s a good reminder to myself. Eat large meals at least 3-4 hours before your class or solo run.
- Snack well. If you are the type who likes to nibble right before exercise, choose something like yogurt or a peanut butter sandwich.
- Eat after you exercise. (Emphasis mine!) Focus on a good balance of carbs and protein to aid in muscle recovery. Eat within two hours!
- Drink up. “The American College of Sports Medicine recommends you drink two to three cups of water before your workout, half to one cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout, and two to three cups after your workout for every pound of weight you lose during the workout.”
Since implementing these five rules, I have felt so much stronger (and, honestly, less nauseated!) while I exercise.
What is your favorite pre- or post-exercise snack? I love toast with peanut butter before I exercise and tend to recover with yogurt and my homemade granola!