I'm Going to Work Out—What Should I Eat?

Good nutrition is essential to achieving your fitness goals. To help you get started, here are some things you need to know about eating for exercise.

1. Remember to Hydrate!

Before you can even start thinking about food, ensure your hydration goals are met. Otherwise, you could be headed toward dehydration.

When you drink enough water, your body can more easily:

Hydration helps you exercise at optimal levels with less fatigue. Nothing saps performance faster than the onset of dehydration and all the symptoms that come with it.

Try to drink at least two liters of water for every 2,000 calories in your daily diet. When temperatures are higher—or you increase the intensity of your workouts—boost your water intake, too.

2. Food = Energy

Without the right food (in the proper amounts), your body cannot produce the fuel it needs for exercise. A healthy diet gives your muscles the necessary boost to perform.

Not any old junk will do.

Instead, try to grab whole foods that are jam-packed with nutrients.

Great pre- and post-workout snacks include:

Through trial and error, you will see which foods make you feel your best while working out and beyond. Resist the urge to nosh on the same things each time. Variety is important when it comes to eating a properly balanced diet.

3. Variety = Power

You need a combination of healthy fats, carbs, protein, and fiber along with the full range of vitamins and minerals to have the energy for beneficial exercise routines. Here are some quick ways to get that nutritional diversity:

4. Timing Matters

You can also boost the effectiveness of your workouts by optimizing your schedule.

Before Workouts

As you approach your daily exercise session, eat a light meal about an hour before you start moving. Aim for foods that are heavy in carbs and still have moderate amounts of protein.

During Workouts

Always focus on hydration during your workouts. There’s no need to snack, but you should always have water or low-sugar sports drinks on hand.

After Workouts

About fifteen minutes after your workout, eat a light snack to promote recovery from the intense activity. Reach for whole foods, like raspberries or carrots, to restore the nutrients your body needs most.  

When you transform your eating habits to support your exercise routines, you can start moving toward achieving your goals faster than ever before — and with far less effort.

5. Be Realistic 

Workouts do not burn as many calories as you may think.

Whether you are doing step aerobics or rowing, your average 30-minute workout has the potential to burn up to 300 calories. When you consider that only equals an extra slice of pizza or a single chocolate doughnut, it is easy to see how poor dietary choices can quickly catch up with you.

By cleaning up your diet, you can get the most out of every exercise routine you complete on your journey toward a healthier body and mind.  

Feel Better.
Live Better.