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You don’t need to be training for a marathon to use these guidelines.

Step 1: Aim for well-balanced, nutritious meals every day!

  • GOAL: Feel good! Your body doesn’t run well on an empty tank or cheap gas!

  • 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
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