Everything You Need to Learn About Nutrition When Working Out

Everything You Need to Learn About Nutrition When Working Out

Do you work out regularly? Then you need to make sure your body gets the right fuel in order to function efficiently and smoothly. As someone who has been going to Mountainside Fitness for the past 3 years, I have learned a few things about exercise nutrition along the way.

It All Starts with the Basics

A lot of active adults don’t seem to realize importance of nutrition basics. When you don’t get sufficient nutrients, vitamins and minerals, it not only compromises your performance but also your health. It doesn’t have to be complicated – you just need to go back to the basics of proper nutrition: eat lots of fruits and veggies, eat healthy fats, go for whole grain carbs, eat lean proteins and drink plenty of fluids.

Fuel Up

Your body needs energy especially when you’re working out. Skimping on nutrition or trying to cut calories is not a good idea for an active person even if you’re trying to lose weight. When you’re not getting enough calories you’ll end up with fatigue, reduce muscle mass and less bone density.

Don’t Hate Carbs

For high intensity and long workouts, you will need carbohydrates to fuel your muscles and your brain. Keep these simple guidelines in mind:

  • Light intensity workouts: 3-5g of carbs per kg of body weight. This is at least 200g a day for a 150-lb person.
  • For long or high intensity workouts: 6-10g of carbs per kg of body weight. This is at least 408g a day for a 150-lb person.

Go for healthy carbs like whole grain bread and pasta, quinoa, brown rice, veggies, fruits and sweet potatoes.

Get Enough Protein

Protein enables the body to build muscle and repair damaged ones. Aim for at least 1.2 g of protein per kg of body weight if you’re an active individual. That’s about 82g of protein per day if you weigh 150 lbs. Some studies show 2g of protein per kg of body weight is more ideal. However, if you aren’t working out regularly, go for 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight.

You can get good protein from fish, poultry and lean meat. If you’re avoiding meat, other excellent sources are beans, peanuts, soybeans, Greek yogurt, tofu and cheese.

Fats are Good for You

Healthy fats, that is! A healthy diet is one that includes fat, as it provides your body with the energy it needs to absorb nutrients. Some vitamins also need fat before they can give your body any significant benefit. Among the best sources of healthy fats are fish, avocado, olive oil, nuts and flaxseed.

Pre-Workout and Post-Workout Nutrition

Eating throughout the day should give you enough calories for working out if you’re only planning to spend less than an hour exercising. However, if you plan to do a long workout, you may want to eat an extra big meal 1-2 hours before working out. If you’re training for a marathon, for example, bringing energy bars or gels during your sessions will give you the energy needed to refuel your body.

Now for post-workout nutrition, eat foods rich in protein within 15 minutes of your workout in order to replenish what was used up during exercise. Protein is also necessary as it gives your body amino acids needed to build and repair muscles. Drink a post-workout smoothie that contains protein and carbs post-workout.

Here’s a smoothie recipe you should drink after your workout:

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