Eating around a workout

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If you are like me, I have struggled through an intense workout too soon after a meal and maybe (!) saw that meal again, sadly. Felt like a whole lot of wasted time and food. Or I have woken up for a endurance exercise like a long run and felt utterly sluggish from the lack of fuel. A cup of coffee just won’t cut it!

In the recent weeks I have been researching and experimenting with eating before and after a workout. I believe I have found the secret formula for both intense and moderate workouts!

For all intensities…

An hour before your workout starts: Have a small simple carb with low fiber, like a banana, and a liter of water. I also will have a cup of coffee. The caffeine will get the energy levels jump started. Avoid having more than two cups though. Too much acid can cause tummy troubles mid workout.

After your workout: Pack on the protein and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I recommend a recovery beverage, like P90X results and recovery to help process the lactic acid and prevent soreness, but that is not a food! Protein shake, veggie egg scramble, and Greek yogurt and granola are all great options for a post early morning meal. If your workout is later in the day, you can go for any protein/complex carb mix. Try Avocado and black bean with quinoa wrap, or hummus and whole grain flat-bread with veggies! I always have pre-baked chicken breasts on hand in the fridge, which go great with just about anything.

For those pesky long endurance workouts:  Carb loading is not a myth. Have some simple carbs the night before if your workout will be longer than an hour. I reach for good old cheerios and almond milk before bed. Late workout? Carb it up at breakfast but ease up at lunch. See previous guidelines for an hour before your workout. Those still apply!

Your body is a machine! Fuel that puppy right. If you are making an effort to fit exercise into your busy life, give yourself the best shot to make it super effective! Get the most bang for your buck time!

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