Eating right can help energize your workout. Which foods are best, which should you avoid, and when should you eat?
Sports nutrition expert Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, shares her tips.
What is the best thing to eat before exercising for energy and endurance?
Your muscles rely on carbohydrate foods like breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables for quick energy.
You also need fluids, or your body will have a hard time performing at its best.
Is there an ideal meal to eat before exercise?
There's no one meal that you need to eat before working out. Instead, focus on these 5 things:
Moderate in carbs and protein
Made up of familiar foods that you tolerate well
A grilled chicken sandwich or a slice of cheese pizza might fit the pregame meal description, but stay clear of the fried food (including french fries), greasy burgers, and soft drinks.
Also, a pregame meal isn't the time to try a new food.
Why is it so important to drink plenty of liquids during exercise?
Water acts as your body’s cooling system. You don't want to get dehydrated.
The best way to stay hydrated is to drink plenty of fluids with meals, and drink about 2 cups (16 ounces) of water 2 hours before exercise.
Is it better to stay hydrated with sports drinks or plain water?
Water is often enough. But if you're exercising for more than 60 minutes in hot, humid conditions, sports drinks may help. They give you carbs and sodium, as well as fluids.
Sports drinks are also a good choice if you play team sports like soccer or football, especially when the temperature and humidity are high. If you sweat a lot, a sports drink might be preferable to water.
Is it bad to exercise on an empty stomach, especially in the morning?
It depends on the type of exercise. A brisk walk or light jog on an empty stomach is fine; just drink a glass of water before heading out the door.
For more intense exercise, eat some easy-to-digest carbs (a packet of instant grits, a slice of toast, half a plain bagel, a banana, or a cup of fruit cocktail washed down with a glass of water) to help provide fuel.
Do you need to eat protein after exercising?
It's a good idea, because it helps your muscles recover and grow.
Whatever you choose, more isn’t better. You need only 10-20 grams of protein for your muscles.
With so many sports drinks, bars, and more to choose from, how do you make the best choices?
A good sports drink has 14-15 grams of carbohydrate in 8 ounces. It should also have about 110 milligrams of sodium and 30 milligrams of potassium in the same volume.