March was National Nutrition Month®
In keeping with this year's theme, Go Further With Food, we're providing basic nutrition and hydration tips to fuel your workout.
Hydrate. Make sure you are hydrated prior to your workout by drinking several glasses of water, and continue to drink water during your workout. Water is the preferred hydration source; you may use flavored water but make sure it contains zero sugar.
Have a meal or snack one to three hours prior to working out. A piece of fruit, yogurt, whole grain bread with peanut butter, a bowl of whole grain cereal or oatmeal are all good choices. This meal should be light and easy to digest - lower in fat, lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates.
For workouts shorter than 90 minutes, carbohydrates are the preferred fuel for muscles, so make sure you have enough in your system.
Replenish. If you are exercising for 90 minutes or more, you will want to replenish carbohydrates along with fluids. Here is where sports drinks, gels, beans, etc. come in handy. One sports drink or package of gel/beans has enough carbohydrates to fuel you for an additional 30-60 minutes. Continue to drink 6 -12 oz. of water or more per additional hour of your workout to avoid dehydration.
Eat a balanced meal. Post workout, refuel with carbohydrates, fiber, protein and, of course, more fluid. The smoothie recipe that I'm providing this month (immediately following this article), a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, or a meal replacement bar that has at least 3-5 grams of fiber and minimal saturated fat, are all good choices.
If you are an endurance athlete (working out 90+ minutes most days of the week) or a bodybuilder or have certain medical conditions, your sports nutrition needs may be different than those outlined above.
Please consult a registered dietitian for specific advice.