Eating a well-balanced diet can help you get the calories and nutrients you need to fuel your daily activities, including regular exercise. When it comes to eating the right foods to fuel your exercise performance, it’s not as simple as choosing vegetables over doughnuts. You need to get the right types of food at the right times of the day.
Your first meal of the day is an important one. Eating breakfast regularly has been linked to a lower risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Starting your day with a healthy breakfast can help replenish your blood sugar, which your body needs to power your muscles and brain.
Eating a healthy breakfast is vitally important on days when you exercise or do sport. Missing breakfast can leave you feeling lightheaded or lethargic while you are working out.
Choosing the right kind of breakfast is important. Far too many people rely on simple carbohydrates to start their day. A plain white bagel or doughnut won’t keep you feeling full for long. A fibre- and protein-rich breakfast may fend off hunger pangs for longer and provide the energy you need to keep your body and exercise going.
Instead of eating sugar-laden cereals made from refined grains, try oatmeal, oat bran, or other whole-grain cereals that are high in fibre. You can add in some protein, such as milk, yogurt, or chopped nuts.
If you prefer toast, choose whole-grain bread. Then pair it with an egg, peanut butter, or another protein source.
Thanks to low-carb fad diets, carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation. Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. About 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories should come from carbohydrates. This is especially true if you exercise.
Choosing the right kind of carbohydrates is important. Too many people rely on the simple carbs found in sweets and processed foods.
You should focus on eating the complex carbs found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. Whole grains have more staying power than refined grains because you digest them more slowly. They can help you feel full for longer and fuel your body throughout the day. They can also help stabilize your blood sugar levels. These quality grains have the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body running at its best.
Protein is needed to help keep your body growing, maintained, and repaired. Your red blood cells die after about 120 days. Protein is also essential for building and repairing muscles, helping you enjoy the benefits of your workout. It can be a source of energy when carbohydrates are in short supply, but it’s not a major source of fuel during exercise even if you are well-fed.
Adults need to eat about 0.8 grams of protein per day for every kilogram of their body weight. That is equal to about 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. Exercisers and older people may need even more.
For the healthiest options, choose lean proteins that are low in saturated and trans fats. Limit the amount of red meat and processed meats that you eat.
Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of natural fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that your body needs to function properly. They’re also low in calories and fat.
Aim to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies at every meal. Create a “rainbow” by choosing fruits and veggies of different colours. This will help you enjoy the full range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that fruit and vegetables have to offer. Every time you go to the grocery store, considering choosing a new fruit or vegetable to try. For snacks, keep dried fruits in your workout bag and raw veggies in the fridge.
Unsaturated fats may help reduce inflammation, and they help provide calories. While fat is a primary fuel for aerobic exercise, we have plenty stored in the body to fuel even the longest workouts. Getting healthy unsaturated fats helps to provide essential fatty acids and calories to keep you moving.
When it comes to fuelling up before or after a workout, it’s important to achieve the right balance of carbs and protein. Pre-workout snacks that combine carbohydrates with protein can make you feel more energized than junk foods made from simple sugars and lots of fat.
Bananas are full of potassium and magnesium, which are important nutrients to get daily. Eating a banana can help replenish these minerals while providing natural sugars to fuel your workout. For added protein, enjoy your banana with a serving of peanut butter.
These fruits are all full of vitamins and minerals, as well as water. They’re easy on your intestines, give you a quick boost of energy, and help you stay hydrated. Consider pairing them with a serving of yogurt for protein.
Nuts are a great source of heart-healthy fats and provide protein and essential nutrients.
They can give you a source of sustained energy for your workout. Pair them with fresh or dried fruit for a healthy dose of carbohydrates. It is recommended that you test these options to see how they settle in your stomach. High-fat foods can slow digestion, and they may make food sit in your stomach too long if your workout is coming up quickly.
If you don’t like peanut butter, we have macadamia nut butter and other protein-rich alternatives.
If you’re trying to lose weight or tone your body, you may be tempted to cut a ton of calories from your meals. Cutting calories is a key part of weight loss, but it’s possible to go too far. Weight loss diets should never leave you feeling exhausted or ill. Those are signs that you’re not getting the calories you need for good health and fitness.
A diet with 1,500 to 1,800 daily calories is appropriate for most men who are trying to shed excess pounds. If you’re very active or you don’t want to lose weight while getting fit, you may need to eat more calories. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian to learn how many calories you need to support your lifestyle and fitness goals.
As you settle into an active lifestyle full of exercise, activity and fun. You will discover which foods give you the most energy and which have negative side effects.
The key is to listen to your body and balancing what feels right with what feels good for you.