Have you ever been smack dab in the middle of an intense workout and suddenly your energy level just crashes? There is nothing worse than finding the motivation to work out, putting the time in, and then realizing that your body is not up to the challenge. Whether you are implementing exercise to lose weight or just to find a healthier lifestyle, what you put into your body throughout the day largely impacts how your workout plays out. It says a lot that you are motivated to add exercise into your day, and trust us when we say that it is worth the time spent planning what you put into your body daily. As you plan out your weekly exercise routine, keep these key points in mind to reap the benefits of fueling your body right.
Timing is Everything for Fueling Your Body Right
The timing of your meal plays a big role in how your workout goes. You may have heard the myth that eating just after exercising will make you lose weight faster, however it is almost impossible to complete a well-rounded workout without eating beforehand to give your body energy. Try to eat a complete meal with protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats about two hours before exercising. This will ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need for fueling your body right before getting active. If you can’t eat two hours beforehand, consider eating foods that are easy for your body to digest such as protein and carbohydrates so you aren’t exercising on a full stomach.
Pace Your Protein When Fueling Your Body Right
If you are trying to maintain a healthy weight and are conscious of the foods you eat, you may be cutting calories and saving the “heavy” proteins for later meals like lunch or dinner. Consuming meals without protein at breakfast can lead to hunger pains later on in the day, so it is better to “pace your protein” and consume protein in smaller amounts throughout the day. Add easily digestible proteins, such as ones found in milk, or add eggs or protein powder to your breakfast in the morning to help keep you full longer and give you the energy your body needs to remain active throughout the day. You may find yourself motivated to take extra walks on your work break or sign up for a sporadic yoga class if your body is well-fueled.
Pick the Right Foods for Fueling Your Body Right
Finding the energy for your workout routine goes further than "carbo-loading" right before a big race. Instead of fueling your body with sugar or lower quality carbohydrates, opt for healthy carbs like whole grains and fruits. If you are practicing a Keto diet or "low carb" diet, it may be your default to get your protein source from bacon, beef, or high-fat dairy. Take some time to research lean protein sources such as poultry, low-fat milk, and beans. Fuel your body with healthy fats from avocado and nuts instead of unhealthy alternatives. Lastly, when you reach for an afternoon snack, consider foods that are higher in protein and lower in added sugars. Selecting healthy foods and building well-rounded meals will provide your body with a diet rich in vitamins and minerals and will give you the energy you are looking for to fuel your body longer and achieve better workouts.
Hydration is Key When Fueling Your Body Right
Keeping your body hydrated is often easier said than done. It is best to stay hydrated throughout the day and aim for consuming liquid two hours before you start exercising. Once you've started your workout, don't forget to continue drinking during the warm-up before you hit the peak of your exercise. You might become distracted during your workout, but taking the necessary time to hydrate will fuel your body and help your workout last longer. Try to make a habit of not only drinking liquids consistently throughout the day, but also take frequent sips during the warm-up, every 10 minutes or so during the workout, once you have completed the workout, and continue to drink liquids once you have finished. Look into hydrating liquids and water enhancers to boost hydration during intense exercise.
When it comes to getting the most out of your workout, getting the necessary fuel for your body is key. Take the time to evaluate which foods work best for you and your metabolism, and seek out foods with high nutritional value. As you plan your workouts, consider the timing of everything, and keep your body hydrated along the way. Your body is an instrument and it requires maintenance and upkeep to perform at its best.