I've been trying to find the best foods to eat prior to working out. I want to have sustained energy without feeling weighed down by a heavy meal. Also, is there a certain length of time I should allow my body to digest a meal before a workout? Sometimes I think I start doing aerobics too soon after eating since I feel slightly nauseous.
It is best to give your body at least an half hour to digest a meal before a workout. As far as what to eat before a workout, make sure it's light and balanced ?carbs, protein and a bit of fat. Examples are oatmeal with fruit, yogurt with a spoonful of crunchy granola, a veggie omelet with a slice of toast, or a turkey sandwich are appropriate choices. Carbs are good here since the body digests them more easily than protein.
It's also important to eat something within 45 minutes to an hour after your workout, and that too should be a balance of carbs and protein. A workout depletes your glycogen stores, and if you don't refuel, your body will once again turn to your muscle mass as an energy source. Working out, especially weight training, causes muscle tears that must be repaired for your exercise sessions to be effective. You need to eat something to expedite the repair. The protein part of your post-workout meal is especially important, since it's protein that your body uses to build and repair muscle. Appropriate post-workout meals include a protein shake made with low fat milk or soymilk, a bean and cheese burrito, or chicken with broccoli and brown rice.
For more answers to your nutrition questions check out "Ask the Nutritionists:Answers to Your Nutrition Questions." This is available at www.authorhouse.com, online, or your favorite bookstore.
-George Rapitis, Bsc. Nutritionist
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