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Finding the Perfect Balance of Eating and Exercising

Posted May 10 2013 7:00am

Run It can be difficult to find the ideal balance of eating and exercise but the right formula can be essential to maximize your athletic performance. What to eat and when to eat can be a challenge and there isn’t a perfect rule as everyone is different and reacts differently to food.

When and what you eat can affect how you feel when you exercise. You need to eat before exercising. Fueling exercise requires quality carbohydrates, lean protein, heart-healthy fats, and fluids. Your muscles rely on carbohydrate for energy source. Protein is needed to build and maintain muscles. However, you shouldn’t eat too much before you exercise as you may feel sluggish and may experience stomach cramps. Eating too little may not give you the energy to keep you feeling strong throughout your workout.

Overall digestion-time varies as some people can eat one hour before an intense activity but others need over two hours to fully digest their meals. Nutritional bars and snacks can be helpful, not too heavy on your stomach but providing enough nutrients.

If you exercise early in the morning you may face a common problem. If you don’t eat, you could feel weak when you exercise but eating a full breakfast may not allow you enough time to digest before your workout. A light breakfast such as cereals, bananas, or breakfast bars can be the solution.

If you exercise any other time of the day, you can control how much you eat before exercise using this simple general guideline: eat large meals at least three hours before exercising. Eat small meals two hours before exercising. You can eat snacks an hour before exercising. Of course, drink plenty of water or sports drinks two hours before exercise to stay hydrated.

Just remember that everyone has different physical activities and finding the perfect balance depends on your specific workout and diet.

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