Monday, May 7

To get the most from your workout, follow these guidelines:

  • Eat a full breakfast. Wake up early enough to eat a full breakfast. "Most of the energy you got from dinner last night is used up by morning," says DeBoer. "Your blood sugar is low. If you don't eat, you may feel sluggish or lightheaded while exercising." If you plan to exercise within an hour after breakfast, eat a smaller breakfast or drink something to raise your blood sugar, such as a sports drink.
  • Time your meals. Eat large meals at least three to four hours before exercising. If you're having a small meal, eat two to three hours before exercising.

    Most people can eat snacks right before and during exercise. The key is how you feel. Some people feel lightheaded during the first 10 to 15 minutes of their workout if they eat within the hour before exercise. Do what works best for you.

  • Don't skip meals. Skipping meals may cause low blood sugar, which can make you feel weak and lightheaded. If you're short on time before your workout, and your choice is candy or nothing, eat the candy because it can improve your performance, compared with eating nothing. But keep in mind, all candy is high in sugar and low on nutrients, so a snack of yogurt and a banana would be a better choice.
  • Eat after your workout. To help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores, eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of your exercise session if possible.