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Healthy Tip: 5 Best Foods for Your Pre and Post Workout Needs

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5 Best Foods for Your Pre and Post Workout Needs

If looking good and feeling great is your personal mantra to a complete life, then you’re probably in the habit of exercising regularly. It’s a good thing to stay active and get your body moving, but are you doing it the smart way? Your body is just like any machine – if you provide it with the right kind of fuel, you can push it to achieve wonders. So if you want your workout to pay rich dividends, you must eat the right kinds of foods, both before and after you exercise.

Pre-workout food tips:
The important thing to remember before you workout is that you must never do it immediately after a meal. If you’ve eaten something heavy and rich in fat and proteins, wait at least three hours before you hit the gym. If it’s a light meal that digests quickly, you can start working out in an hour or so. The best foods to eat pre-workout depend on the intensity of your workout – if it’s light to moderate, you would probably do well with a few fruits and some nuts or cheese. But if you’re going to train intensely for an hour or more, it’s best you shore yourself up with some carbohydrates that digest easily. In general, the following foods are good for a pre-workout meal (at least an hour before you begin to exercise):

•    Carbohydrates like bread and pasta (don’t add butter, sauces or other condiments that add additional calories and fat to your diet)
•    Fruits like bananas, apples and grapes
•    Liquids that boost your energy (avoid sugary sodas and stick to fruit juices or sports drinks)
•    A handful of nuts or a vegetable salad with grated cheese
•    Whey protein shakes or drinks (especially if you’re going to be working out with weights or training your muscles)

Remember to warm up adequately before you begin to exercise, hydrate yourself throughout the process with small sips of water (don’t fill your stomach with liquid while you’re exercising), and stop if you feel any sign of discomfort (if you push on in spite of the pain or ache, you risk major injury).

Post-workout food tips:
Once you’ve completed your workout, cool down with a set of stretching and relaxing exercises so that your sore muscles and joints are allowed to recover. If you’re hungry immediately after exercise, drink water, liquids with electrolytes or fruit juice. You can also eat a light snack and some fruits half an hour after you exercise (the time it takes you to cool down, shower and get into fresh clothes). And wait no longer than an hour before refueling your body; when you go longer than 45 to 60 minutes without food after working out, your body starts to burn glycogen reserves and ends up breaking down muscle mass which in turn slows down your metabolism and slows down the whole weight loss process. The best post-workout foods are meals that are high in protein and carbohydrates and low in fat as fat tends to slow down digestion:

•    Whey protein shake or drink (drink it immediately after you work out with weights for best muscle results)
•    Chicken or turkey on bread or with rice
•    Vegetables like green beans, spinach, and sweet potato
•    Eggs (maybe a cheese omelet with whole-wheat toast)
•    Fish like salmon and tuna with bread or brown rice

Exercise and diet go hand in hand for a healthy lifestyle, and unless you make smart decisions in both categories, your weight loss goals are not going to be easily met.

This guest post is contributed by Shannon Wills, she writes on the topic of Physical Therapy Assistant Schools . She welcomes your comments: shannonwills23@gmail.com.

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