Wondering how to utilize your diet plan for exercise? Yes, nutrition is important for fitness and having a well-balanced diet plan can help you get the calories and nutrients you need to fuel you up for daily exertion and your regular exercise.
When and what you eat can be important to how you feel when you exercise, whether it’s a casual drill or training for a competition, or just getting ready to start your day.
When it comes to eating foods to fuel your exercise and your body as you go about your day, it’s not as simple as choosing vegetables over doughnuts. You must consume the appropriate foods at the appropriate times of the day.
Here are some significant tips to prop your choice of diet and meal plans in general for exercise.
8 Tips On How to Utilize Your Diet Plan For Exercise
Your first meal of the day is very important, it is one you should not even think of skipping. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that regular breakfast puts you at a lower risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, and can renew your blood sugar, which your brain and muscles require to function.
If you exercise in the morning, choosing a healthy breakfast is crucial. Having a healthy meal rich in fiber, protein, and carbohydrates will give you the energy you need to keep your exercise going.
Recommended options include:
- Whole-grain cereals or bread
- Low-fat milk
- A banana
Whole-grain bread is the way to go if you wanna make a toast. Spread peanut butter on toast and top with an egg or another source of protein.
It’s essential to eat the correct kinds of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates like those found in sweets and processed foods are the go-to source for a lot of people. What a lot of people do not know is the carb from this source is simple carbohydrates. It is better to instead rely on eating complex carbohydrates such as those found in homemade foods, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
Because you digest whole grains more slowly than refined grains, they have a longer shelf life. These high-quality grains provide the vitamins and minerals your body requires to function at its best.
These carbs can keep you fuller for longer and provide fuel for your body throughout the day. They can also aid in the maintenance of a normal blood sugar level.
- Serving Size
Watching the size of your meal before your exercise is essential. You need to be careful not to have too much or too little before your exercise. Having too much can make you sluggish and having too little might have you tired and light-headed and unable to push through and hit your best mark.
For people who eat small meals and snacks; You should eat when it’s 30mins- 1hour before your exercise.
for people who eat large meals; eat 2-3 hours before your exercise or better still, get a light meal or a snack with enough carbohydrates to keep you fueled through your exercise. After which you can then have your main meal.
Research has shown that your workout performance is improved and to a higher intensity if you eat or drink carbs before your exercise, and may even help you last longer.
Protein keeps your body growing, maintained, and repaired.
Fun fact: Did you know that red blood cells die after about 120 days.
Protein is what is responsible for replenishing your red blood cells. So you don’t need to be a workout junkie to consume a lot of protein. Everyone needs protein!
It is essential for building and repairing muscles, this is essential for your workout and can also be a source of energy when you run short of carbohydrate to fuel your exercise.
Easy & recommended source of protein:
- chicken and turkey
- red meat e.g beef and lamb
- milk and yogurt
- legumes e.g beans and lentils
- Healthy Snack
Having a snack before, after or even in between your exercise is ideal. Pay attention to how you feel and do what works for you.
Good snacking options may include;
- Banana, an apple, or other fresh fruit
- An energy bar
- fruit smoothie
- A low-fat granola bar
- A peanut butter sandwich
- Diluted juice
- Increase Fruits & Vegetable Intake
All vegetables and fruits are highly nutritious and are packed with vitamins, and minerals with antioxidant properties, and other compounds that can help reduce the risk of diseases as well as improve cognitive health, and keep you healthy generally.
So with all that said, it is recommended that you include some veggies and fruits in your workout diet plan for better results. Popular vegetables with highly packed vitamins are;
Besides including these on your workout diet plan, you also need a lot of fruits and vegetables each day if you want to maximize the impact of your diet and boost your immune system
- Eat After Exercise
After grinding and sweating, eating a meal should be your next agenda. Your muscles need to recover, so you need to have a meal that is well packed with proteins and carbs and it should be achieved within 1-2 hours to avoid breakdown.
If for any reason you can not have your meal ready within 2 hours, consider a post-workout snack to keep you going till you can have a proper meal.
A good post-workout snack may include;
- bread and peanut butter spread
- fruits and vegetables with yogurt.
- STAY HYDRATED
Water is necessary for a healthy heart, brain, and muscles, as well as for the control of our body temperature through sweating. Staying hydrated throughout a workout enhances your overall capacity to complete workouts.
Most people forget to hydrate properly during their workouts, resulting in dehydration, which can result in serious issues such as muscle fatigue, excessive sweating due to an increase in our body temperatures, and thus overheating, which can cause a problem with our mental functions, which in turn lead to more serious issues such as dizziness or fainting.
Drinking enough water as you go is the best way to replenish expended fluids and stay hydrated. If you exercise for more than 60 minutes, you should consider consuming a sports/soft drink. Because they include carbs and can assist maintain your body’s electrolyte balance while also providing a boost of energy.
To avoid all of these, it can not be stressed well enough why staying hydrated is important.
In attempting to lose some weight or tone your body, you might be tempted to take out a lot of calories from your meals because cutting out calories is a significant aspect of losing weight, but do not take it too far and cut way too many calories- yes it is possible to take it too far.
Diets for weight loss must not leave you fatigued or unwell. These would be signs that you aren’t consuming enough calories/nutrients for optimal health and fitness.
If you’re really active or don’t want to lose weight while exercising, you may need to consume extra calories.
- Never skip breakfast
- Go for complex carbs and protein sources, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.
- Get your bag packed with healthy snacks.
- The right combination of these nutrients will get you fueled up for your exercise and keep you at optimal performance.
Everyone is different when it comes to eating and exercising. Try to be aware of how you feel while you exercise as well as your overall performance. Use your experience to help you determine which pre-and post-exercise eating habits are ideal for you. Keep a record to track how your body reacts to meals and snacks so you can change your eating habits for peak performance.
As usual, before you begin any workout program or start a change in your daily nutrition see your doctor or a dietitian to determine the number of calories you require to support your lifestyle and fitness objectives.