Nutrition to Fuel Your Spring Workouts
Whether it’s feeling the need to get beach-ready for summer or the motivation of watching someone running the Boston Marathon—there is no better time to get moving with a new fitness regimen than Spring. As goes the old adage goes, you are what you eat, so along with the motivation to get back into shape through exercise also fuels questions about eating properly to make your workouts count.
Choosing the right snacks before and after your workout combined with proper hydration can make the biggest difference in the world.
Here are some great suggestions on what you should consume before, during, and after you exercise:
It isn’t recommended to exercise on an empty stomach. Your body needs fuel, so try to have a snack about one to two hours prior to exercise. A combination of both simple and complex carbohydrates will fuel your muscles during a workout. Add some protein to keep your insulin levels in check. Also keep that snack low in fat and fiber to avoid stomach issues.
Top picks for nutrition:
- Fruit and Yogurt Parfait—combining Greek yogurt, granola and berries.
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Hard-boiled egg with avocado on toast
- Blueberry and banana smoothie (with Greek yogurt)
Don’t sit around thinking you don’t have to eat to lose weight or get results after a workout. Get food into your body as soon as 15 minutes after your workout, either a snack or a light meal rich in both carbohydrates (to make glycogen) and protein (to rebuild and repair muscles). Your body is looking to recover immediately after a run, lifting or any other exercise.
Top picks for nutrition:
- Avocado chicken salad sandwich—this simple, delicious recipe (found here) is fueled with protein and carbohydrates and very easy to make!
- Spinach and egg omelet with toast
- Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana
- Green smoothie
- 2 cups kale, ¾ cup milk, 1 medium banana (frozen and sliced), ¼ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt, ¼ cup frozen pineapple pieces, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1-3 teaspoons honey, to taste. Blend and serve.
Hydration Before and After Workouts
If you're not properly hydrated, your body can't perform at its highest level. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints, while also helping to transport nutrients that give you energy. The most important thing to know (especially as the weather warms up) is: hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more!
While these helpful tips are important every day, they’re vitally important during exercise—when you’re more likely to be losing water, both through your breath and through sweat:
- Aim to drink 7-10 ounces every 10-20 minutes during exercise.
- Sip on sports drinks and water-enhancing electrolyte tablets to replace electrolytes lost when you’ve been sweating.
- Check the color of the urine to make sure you are hydrated. When properly hydrated your urine should be pale yellow in color.
You should always consult your primary care doctor before starting a fitness regimen. But if you’d like to speak with one of South Shore Health's registered dietitians to discuss how to eat properly to enhance those workouts, we offer individual sessions to help you meet your nutritional goals.