Tuesday, October 14, 2008

what to eat before a workout

Today's take it off tuesday is all about food--more specifically what your body needs before you work out and when it needs it. In "Fuel for Your Workout: Which Foods Work Best" from the site divine caroline, Allie Firestone talks about the types of food that will give you the most bang for your bite before and during your workout...and depending on the type of workout you have planned.

The basics? Complex carbs with a side of protein is the best: "...whether it's yoga, an hour of hardcore kickboxing, or a weightlifting session ... [your meal] should ... be composed of foods that break down slowly, supplying the body with a steady stream of energy and nutrients." So basically half a king-size Twix isn't going to cut it but a ripe banana with a side of peanut butter should do the trick.

Just as important as what you eat is when you eat it. Timing depends on the size of your meal and the types of food in it:

Different factors affect how quickly the meal will break down, like whether it's liquid or solid (liquid digests faster), or if it has some healthy fats (fat needs more time to break down). ... A more snacky meal... usually takes one to two hours to digest, but a larger meal ... will need a full two to three hours.
Though natural foods are best, protein bars and shakes can be a good option if you're in a hurry or on the go. "Fuel for Your Workout" even outlines the best meals for Pilates or yoga (dark chocolate--yum!), cardio (oatmeal--yummy with a little brown sugar and a handful of raisins) and weight lifting (it's all about the protein, baby). With what limited time you have to work out, you might as well get the most out of it! --Emily

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