I enjoy my morning workouts and I feel much better when I stay active. Whether I am walking the dog, working in the yard, or playing basketball with my son I enjoy staying active and being outside as much as possible. My workouts have transitioned more towards strength building and less cardio. At my age I need to retain as much muscle as possible. I try to supplement my workouts with plenty of activities that get my heart and lungs going. I have found that nothing is important enough to squeeze out the time I have set aside for workouts and physical activities. It just isn’t worth it.
But like everyone else, I want to make sure I get the most from my workouts since I am investing the time and energy for it. I have discovered that the food, vitamins and minerals I take in before and after my workout make a huge difference in how I feel and in the results I get.
- Carbohydrates – your body needs quick energy during your workout and carbs get you there. Carbs are especially important before your workout to give you energy to provide you the energy needed to give it your all. The best, of course, are complex carbohydrates. If you work out first thing in the morning like I do, a great option is whole wheat toast or pita, stone-rolled oatmeal, non-fat Greek yogurt, a few strawberries or a banana. If your workout fits your schedule later in the day you may be more in the mood for most any kind of beans, sweet potatoes, corn, whole grain breads or brown rice. I generally grab a banana and go. Probably not enough. But one thing in for sure, you don’t want to your gut to be too full so just a quick snack is best.
- Fat – this is especially helpful to sustain your energy levels during a long exercise routine such as long-distance running, cycling, and swimming. Carbohydrates give you quick energy but fat keeps you going for the long haul. This is due to the high calorie density, one gram of fat equals nine calories. It burns off slower so it fuels your body for a longer period of time compared to carbs. For this reason, fat doesn’t really help for shorter, high intensity workouts. These include avocados, eggs, nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish such as tuna, sardines and trout.
- Protein – this will sustain you through your workout and will help build the muscle you need. Protein will help rebuild the muscle that is broken down in weight training exercise so it is best to take in extra protein immediately after your workout and for the next 12-24 hours. Without the protein your muscles need you will not get the full results you have worked so hard for. Lean meat is a great source of protein. This includes chicken or turkey breast, lean cuts of beef steak (top or bottom round), and pork chops. Fish is also a good source with Halibut, Salmon, Tilapia and Tuna being the best. Eggs, Greek yogurt and cheese are also great options.
Also, especially important before, during, and after your workout is to stay hydrated. Drink filtered water so your body can process the nutrition you have taken in as well as rebuild your muscles. As I have said before, water is superior to any of the so-called fitness drinks on the market.
If you are going to sacrifice your time and put in the effort to exercise you should want to get the most out of it and nutrition is very important. Most serious body builders find it is necessary to augment their food intake with high quality nutritional supplements. I am a believer in the products offered by Advocare. This great company offers a wide range of the highest quality products anywhere and you can find what fits your lifestyle and your needs. I will dig deeper into which of these products enhance your workout and exercise routine soon.