Monday, May 7

Eating and exercise: Time it right to maximize your workout

Knowing when and how much to eat and drink before you exercise can make a big difference in how you feel during and after your workout. Here are some tips.

When you eat and what you eat can affect your performance and the way you feel while you're exercising. Coordinate your meals, snacks and what you drink to make the most of your exercise routine.

Eating a lot before exercise can slow you down

When you exercise after a large meal, you may feel sluggish or have an upset stomach, cramping and diarrhea. That's because your muscles and your digestive system are competing with each other for energy resources.

"Your body can digest food while you're active, but not as well as it can when you're not exercising," notes Stephen DeBoer, a registered dietitian at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. This is partly because your body is trying to do two things requiring blood supply and energy simultaneously — digesting the food you just ate and providing fuel to keep your muscles active.

Time it right: Before, during and after your workout

On the flip side, not eating before you exercise can be just as bad as eating too much. Low blood sugar levels that result from not eating can make you feel weak, faint or tired, and your mental abilities may be affected as well, making you slower to react. So what can you do?

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