You usually think about stretching before you workout. But, what you eat before you workout is just as important. The same goes for what you put in your body after you are finished.
If you do not eat the right kind of food, exercising vigorously can actually compromise your immune system. Then you will end up sick instead of getting stronger.
Not eating the right amount and kind of food before and after working out can break down your muscles, and cause a depletion of your body's essential nutrients.
What you should eat
Have your last full meal three to four hours before you exercise. This will avoid nausea or stomach cramps. About an hour before you workout, eat a snack that is mostly carbohydrates.
Carbs are key since they go into the bloodstream faster than protein or fat.
Good choices include a banana, handful of grapes, or a piece of toast with some jam.
What you should drink
You should keep your body hydrated. Drink eight to 16 ounces of water within an hour before starting your workout.
During your workout
If you plan to workout for less than an hour, you will not need to eat during your workout. You should have enough glucose in your blood as well as glycogen stored within your muscle. If you feel you need a boost, you can eat a high-carb snack such as half of an energy bar which has about 100 calories.
For every fifteen minutes that you exercise, you should drink six to eight ounces of water. If you workout longer than an hour, a sports drink is recommended to replenish your body.
After your workout
Protein is important after you workout for muscle recovery and repair. You could eat a snack like yogurt with fresh fruit, apple slices with peanut butter or half of a turkey sandwich on wheat bread.
You should be totally rehydrated within an hour after finishing your workout. Drink 16 to 24 ounces of water.
Fueling your workouts before, during and after, with the right foods will help to build stamina and boost your immune system.