to help you fuel up for fitness
Your Inner Athlete
should you eat before you workout? Unless you're a professional
athlete, you don't have to plan your meals with a calculator.
All that's needed is a sensible and varied diet comprised of the
major food groups carbohydrates for quick energy, protein
to rebuild muscles, and fat for long-term energy.
caloric needs vary greatly between a 100-pound runner and a 200-pound
bodybuilder. Calculating the increased energy requirements needed
to get you out the door can seem complicated, and poor choices
may lead to poor performance.
the Food Pyramid
two leading sports nutritionists Susan Kleiner, author
of "Power Eating," and Carol Coughlin, author and spokesperson
for the Massachusetts Dietetic Association how they rate
the Food Pyramid
as a tool in helping structure a daily fitness-friendly diet.
to Kleiner, it has some good broad-brush concepts, but there is
one change she makes specifically for athletes. "Athletes need
to think of sugars as separate and distinct from fats. The Pyramid
groups them together, but they aren't metabolized in the same
way by our bodies. I think of sugar as the other carbohydrate
for athletes." Coughlin agrees that the Pyramid is a good starting
point especially for someone new to good nutrition
but stresses that loose interpretation can lead to disaster. "After
all, technically French fries are a vegetable."
Confuse Hunger with Thirst
a bit drowsy as you head for your afternoon aerobics class. Instead
of stopping for coffee on the way, grab a bottle of water instead
you could be dehydrated. A sure-fire way to ruin a workout,
dehydration can cause nausea, headache, and muscle cramps during
drinking water if your goal is weight loss and sports drinks if
your goal is performance. She suggests eight to 10, eight ounce
servings of fluid a day, "and that's if you're just lying on the
Up for Fitness
people just don't like to eat breakfast, while others
can tolerate some juice and toast. Do what feels right,"
says Coughlin. "If you are working out during your
lunch hour, you probably have to settle for something
quick. Don't worry, just try to eat better at dinner."
light, about 1/2 hour or more before any workout-morning,
mid-day, or evening so that your body isn't
diverting blood to your digestive tract to digest
the meal, it's using it to help get oxygen to your
best bet is a serving of carbohydrates with a bit
of protein and maybe a little fat, like: a bagel
with peanut butter, cold cereal with milk, half
a sandwich, a glass of juice and some pretzels.
you are going to exercise for a prolonged period,
say an hour or more, bring along a sports drink
or piece of fruit for during your run, bike ride,
or other activity.
If you are just doing a short aerobics class or
short session of weight training, what you eat matters
less than what you drink; the most important thing
is to get enough fluid.
article was contributed by Andrea Rouda