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Eating and exercise: 5 tips to maximize your workouts
4. Eat after you exercise
To help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores, eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of your exercise session if possible. If you aren't hungry after your workout, drink juice or a sports drink to provide replenishing carbohydrates.
Good post-workout food choices include:
- Yogurt and fruit
- Peanut butter or meat sandwich
- String cheese and crackers
- Nuts and dried fruit
- A regular meal with meat, starch, and cooked vegetable or salad
5. Drink up
Don't forget to drink fluids to help optimize your exercise and workouts. You need adequate fluids before, during and after exercise to help prevent dehydration.
To stay well hydrated for exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you:
- Drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (0.5 to 0.7 liters) of water during the two to three hours before your workout.
- Drink about 1/2 to 1 cup (0.12 to 0.23 liters) of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout. You may need more the larger your body is or the warmer the weather is.
- Drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (0.5 to 0.7 liters) of water after your workout for every pound (0.5 kilogram) of weight you lose during the workout.
Water is generally the best way to replace lost fluids. But if you're exercising for more than 60 minutes, use a sports drink. Sports drinks can help maintain your body's electrolyte balance and give you a bit more energy because they contain carbohydrates.
Let experience be your guide
When it comes to eating and exercise, everyone is different. So pay attention to how you feel during your workout and your overall performance. Let your experience guide you on which pre- and post-exercise eating habits work best for you. Consider keeping a journal to monitor how your body reacts to meals and snacks so that you can tweak your diet for optimal performance.Previous page
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- Whitney E, et al. Understanding Nutrition. 12th ed. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Cengage Learning; 2011.
- Clark N. Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook. 4th ed. Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics; 2008:167.
- Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2000;100:1543.
- DeBoer SW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 7, 2010.