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Fueling your body for workouts

Working out is a rather strenuous activity. Sometimes you are raring to go and sometimes you feel too sluggish to complete a set of exercise. Often you might even have experienced light headedness and felt too weak to continue. These are most likely because you haven’t eaten at the right time! What you eat and when you eat can play roles on how you feel when you exercise.

Exercising right after a heavy meal can slow you down. You feel sluggish and some may even experience stomach problems and cramps. This is because your body competes for resources as digesting food and fueling the muscles both requires blood supply and energy. On the other hand exercising on an empty stomach can leave you feeling weak, faint and you tire easily. Reaction also becomes slow as your mental abilities are also affected. This is due to the low blood sugar content, which can make you feel weak and lightheaded.

It is therefore recommended that you have something to eat prior to exercising. A small snack can be taken just before and after exercising. If you have a hearty breakfast, you should wait for at least three to four hours before you exercise. A smaller meal may require you to wait for two or three hours.

Taking in foods rich in carbohydrates and sugar will help your performance. Carbohydrates are the major source of energy. Foods rich in carbohydrates are cereals, breads, vegetables, pasta, rice and fruit. However carbohydrates high in fiber, such as beans and lentils should be avoided before an intense workout as high-fiber foods may give you gas or cause cramping.

Protein plays a role in muscle repair and growth and can be easily gotten from foods such as meat, dairy products and nuts. Besides carbohydrates, our body also gets its fuel from fats. Avoid saturated fats and get unsaturated sources such as nuts, fatty fish or vegetable oils.

Drink plenty of water. Your body uses the water in your blood to carry nutrients such as sugar (glucose) to cells and to remove waste products from the cells. Drink at least one glass of water before and after your workout and every 10 to 15 minutes during your workout to replace fluid lost in perspiration.

This is, however, just a basic guideline. Every body is a different body and therefore may have different reactions. Depending on how you feel and your workout performance, adopt the pre and post-exercising eating habit that suits you best.

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