Spring is here, and you might be changing up your fitness routine with warm weather in mind. However, just taking your exercise outside and hydrating more might not cut it for your new regimen. You need to properly fuel your body for the exercise you are doing.
Whether you’re training for fat-loss, a race personal best or just fun, how you fuel your body around the clock – not just immediately before or after exercise – affects your workouts. Try to avoid starving and then feasting; just stay fed by regularly eating while you’re awake. By eating regularly throughout the day, you can largely eliminate the need to worry about dedicated pre- and post-workout meals. Just schedule your workout between your regular meals.
Americans are notorious for getting the bulk of their protein intake at dinner. However, 2014 research published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that simply distributing your regular protein intake more evenly throughout the day improves the body’s ability to build lean muscle. Whatever your sport or workout goal, having healthy levels of muscle will help you reach it. Eat at least 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal. And, remember, those meals should be frequent.
It is important to boost your hydration factor. Most of us are chronically dehydrated, which can take a toll on your ability to focus and concentrate when exercising, and it can impair your strength and power. Research in the Journal of Athletic Training also shows that dehydration can worsen post-exercise muscle soreness. During exercise, aim to drink 6 to 8 ounces of water every 15 to 30 minutes. Ideally, when you finish your workout, your weight should be no more than 2 percent less than your starting weight. Any additional losses in weight point to significant dehydration.
Cutting down on packaged foods and focusing on nature-made foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and meats is also important. Put junk in, and you can expect to get junk out.
Whatever your exercise goals or routines, know that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. After all, food is fuel. Without the right fuel in the tank, you’re not going to get where you want to go.
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