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What to eat before and after a workout!

eating_before_workout

Now there are a lot of different ideas on what is best to eat before and after a workout. Some people think drinking protein shakes are the best and others are believers in carbohydrate loading. The misconception about carbohydrate loading is that you need to eat a half box of pasta to carbohydrate load; that may put you in a carbohydrate coma instead.

The main idea of eating properly before exercising or even before a 5k, is that you are giving your body enough “fuel” or energy to be able to perform at your maximum potential. Complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, and whole grain cereals are great to eat before a workout. Complex carbohydrates will break down a little slower in the blood and release glycogen slower, so you don’t burn all your energy at the beginning of your workout. Carbohydrates are stored in the muscle cells themselves, that way your muscles themselves are providing you with energy as you workout. Just remember, you’re providing your body with energy. Don’t eat so much that you weigh yourself down.

Consuming good sources of fruits and vegetables are also important, but pick some of the vegetables that are not quite as high in fiber. This helps avoid stomach cramps during exercise. Such items would be carrots, green beans, asparagus, tomatoes, and cucumbers. These provide good sources of carbohydrates and a little bit of fiber, but not enough to give you discomfort or potential gas.

Protein is the next important ingredient to the balance in your pre-exercise workout. But remember, unless you are competing in an Iron Man contest, you don’t need an excessive amount of protein. Perhaps 2-3 ounces of turkey breast, 2 hard boiled eggs, ½ cup of cottage cheese or maybe even an 8 ounce glass of skim milk should be sufficient amount of protein before a typical workout or 5K.

Make sure you eat something at least 2 hours after your workout is completed. Some great items would be a balance of carbohydrates and protein to refuel the muscles and rebuild them, low fat yogurt and berries, low fat cottage cheese and an apple, two ounces of chicken breast on a slice of whole wheat bread, or even a ½ ounce of nuts with a banana. Either way you need to have a balance of protein and carbohydrates to rebuild your energy stores, your muscle tissue.

The bottom line is to eat good quality carbohydrates and moderate amounts of protein to give you that full feeling and to satisfy you before you exercise. Working out on an empty stomach never is a good thing as you have not filled your take with energy to perform at your best. Small meals throughout the day will keep you feeling fueled throughout the day, so before your workout you should have the energy to exercise at your maximum potential. Hope this helps as you prepare for this year’s Devin’s Dash Memorial 5K!

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