You don’t need to be training for a marathon to use these guidelines.
GOAL: Feel good! Your body doesn’t run well on an empty tank or cheap gas!
Step 1: Aim for well-balanced, nutritious meals every day!
Aim for 3 meals and 2 snacks to keep hunger at bay and energy levels steady. Fill your plate with a balance of fruits and veggies, lean protein, and healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans, or starchy veggies
Eating well along with adequate hydration before exercise is very important and can positively affect performance
Step 2: Nourish your body before exercise!
GOAL: Prevent low blood sugar and feelings of hunger and provide energy for working muscles
Focus on complex carbohydrates since they’re easily digested and absorbed into the blood. Avoid high fat and high protein meals prior to exercise
Pre-exercise meal examples include cheerios, non-fat or low-fat milk and a banana or whole wheat toaster waffles with sliced strawberries and vanilla yogurt
If you choose a small snack closer to exercise (1-2 hours), keep it simple. Practice makes perfect. Practice meals to see what works!
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Step 3: Nourish your body after exercise!
GOAL: Replenish glycogen stores (stored carbohydrates), enhance day to day performance, replace lost fluids, and aid in muscle repair and recovery
It can take 24-48 hours for full muscle recovery. Your muscles are most receptive to replacing glycogen within the first two hours after a hard workout. However, the sooner the better!
Post-exercise meal examples include sweet potato with chili and mozzarella, turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread or pasta with chicken and vegetables
Try a sports drink, smoothie, fruit or juice immediately after an endurance activity followed by a balanced meal within 2 hours