It may not be New Year’s anymore, but that doesn’t mean it is not too late to set some second quarter goals for healthy eating and physical activity. Here are some that might work better for you.
Eat a Balanced Breakfast
Great days begin with healthy breakfasts, especially if you are planning an early morning workout. Studies show that consuming carbohydrates at least one hour before a workout will improve performance and help you to work out for a longer time without feeling sluggish. The best breakfast time workout fuel includes whole grain cereal or bread, juice, low fat milk, yogurt, a banana, or a pancake.
Control Your Portions
When coordinating food intake with exercise, you may want to keep a few guidelines in mind. Overeating can make you sluggish and undereating can leave you with low energy. Eat large meals at least three of four hours prior to exercise. Eat snacks and small meals about one to three hours before exercise.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to snacking. You may chose to eat small snacks before or during exercise, depending on how you feel. However, you may want to keep in mind that snacks eaten directly prior to working out probably won’t give you enough energy to fuel a workout of over 60 minutes, although they may prevent hunger pangs. If your workout exceeds one hour, you should probably take a carbohydrate break somewhere in the middle. Good options include fruit smoothies, low fat granola bars. yogurt, sports drink, a peanut butter sandwich, or a whole grain bagel or crackers.
Eat After Exercise
It is important to help your muscles recover after working out. To replace glycogen stores, eat foods rich in proteins and carbohydrates within two hours of your session. Select foods such as a post workout recovery smoothies, turkey on whole grain bread with veggies, low fat chocolate milk and pretzels, or yogurt and fruit.
Drinking fluids is essential for preventing dehydration from exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine provide the following guidelines:
- Drink 2-3 cups of water within 2 to 3 hours before working out.
- Drink one half cup to a cup of water every 15 -20 minutes during your workout.
- Drink 2-3 cups of water after you workout for every pound you lose while exercising.
While water is the best way to replace fluids, you may want to use a sports drink when exercising for more than 60 minutes to help maintain electrolyte balance and to provide a carbohydrate energy boost.
How are you doing on your fitness goals? Are you following them through? Let us know how you think it’s going and if you have any tips for the rest of us!