What you eat before and after a workout affects your body and how you feel. Eating a poor diet may leave you feeling sluggish, uncomfortable, or tired during exercise. “To achieve your fitness goals, eat foods that will give your body the fuel it needs to perform, endure, and recover,” says Thomas Campbell, MD, physician at St. Joseph Health Primary Care University Drive. Here’s what you should be eating to feel energized during and after your workouts.
Before you exercise, your body needs an adequate amount of calories, carbohydrates, fluids, vitamins, minerals, and protein. Carbohydrates give your body energy during exercise. Two hours before exercise, eat healthy carbohydrates and drink water to hydrate. Avoid protein-heavy foods and saturated fat, as these can take longer for your body to digest.
What you should eat after you exercise depends on the intensity of your workout and hunger. Eating within 20-60 minutes after your workout will help replenish your body’s resources. Refuel with carbohydrates, drink water or a sports drink, and eat protein-rich foods to build muscle and repair body tissue.
Download or pin the infographic below for simple tips on what and when to eat before and after exercise.
A healthy diet and exercise plan go hand-in-hand. If running a race is part of your fitness plan, get resources for developing a training schedule from the St. Joseph Health Run Club.
If joint pain is keeping you from exercise, schedule an appointment with a St. Joseph Health orthopedic physician.
AHA | Food as Fuel Before, During and After Workouts
U.S. News & World Report | The Best Fitness Foods: What to Eat Before, During and After Your Workout
NIH | Nutrition and athletic performance
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