Maria - About.com User
If you eat a large meal, wait about four hours before you exercise. If you eat a regular meal, you only have to wait about two hours to start your workout. Your body prefers to use carbohydrates as fuel, so your pre-workout meal should include plenty of complex carbohydrates from 100-percent whole grain bread or pasta, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. You don't need to avoid protein and fat, however don't choose large portions of meats and fat foods if you will be exercising with the next hour or two.
After Your Workout
Eating after exercise is important as well. Your muscles need the raw materials to recuperate after a heavy workout, such as carbs, protein and electrolytes including potassium and sodium. A light meal or snack within two hours after exercise is perfect. This post-work out meal should contain some protein, some complex carbohydrates and some healthy fats too. Try a Balance Bar (buy direct) or a lean turkey sandwich on 100-percent whole grain bread. According to some experts, chocolate milk has the best proportions of carbohydrates, protein and fats for recovering after a workout. Are you frequently strapped for time? I've got tips for healthful foods in a hurry.
Drink Plenty of WaterHydration is important too. Exercise will cause a depletion of water when you sweat. Drink a glass of water an hour or so before your workout and again after your workout. You can also sip water throughout your workout. Carry a water bottle with you (try adding a FIT Clip to keep track) or look for the drinking fountains.
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Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Eating Before Exercise." Accessed February 5, 2010. www.eatright.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=6442451295.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "How to Eat for Recovery After Exercise." Accessed February 5, 2012. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=7082.