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5 Ways to Fuel Your Workouts

Everyone should eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods. And if you’re working out vigorously on a regular basis, paying attention to what and when you eat can be helpful in reaching your exercise goals. Just follow these easy tips:

  1. Energize yourself.
    Your body needs fuel to work properly, so make sure you feed it in the hours leading up to exercise. The best pre-workout meal is high in carbohydrates and easy to digest. Carbohydrates can be broken down easily by your body and converted into energy.
  2. Time it right.
    Working out on a full stomach can slow you down and cause cramping, so wait three or four hours after a large meal before you head to the gym or out for a run. The closer you get to a workout, the smaller your meal or snack should be. If you exercise early in the morning, grab a piece of fruit or eat a small bowl of cereal before you go.
  3. Stay hydrated.
    Drinking enough fluids is critical when you exercise. Water is typically all you’ll need—unless your workout is particularly long or strenuous. If you exercise over an hour or so, a sports drink may be helpful. In any case, drink fluids throughout your workout.
  4. Refuel.
    The best time to start preparing your body for your next workout is when you finish your current one. Again, replenishing your body with fluids is essential. Also, eating carbs and a little protein soon after intense exercise can help you bounce back. Eating too much, however, will cancel out the calories you just burned.
  5. Listen to your body.
    The way your body reacts to food and exercise will help you determine if what you are doing is working. To get the best results, you may want to try different foods and mealtimes to find the right combination for you.