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Jump Start Your New Year! What to Eat Before You Work Out

Jump Start Your New Year! What to Eat Before You Work Out

What to Eat Before You Work Out


Sometimes the biggest hurdle to exercising and eating right is staying motivated. If you are like me, you may have fallen into a rut of doing the same old workout and eating the same old meals for a while and chances are you may be getting bored. 


Over the holidays when I was planning my life strategy for 2010, I decided to go back to the basics I used to follow a few years ago when I had an office away from home.  That included incorporating more walking to places throughout the day and making sure that I followed a balanced diet (3 meals and 2-3 snacks).


I compiled some of my old favorite recipes (some  I created and some I modified from other sources) that I continue to use for myself and  some of my customers to help me get the new year started.  I will be sharing them with you over the next few days and I welcome your feedback so please feel free to leave a reply.


Today’s focus is on getting an idea of what to eat before and after a workout for maximum results. Fitness expert, Dean Anderson,    says the size, timing, and content of your pre- and post-exercise meals and snacks can play an important role in your energy levels during your workout, how well your body recovers and rebuilds after your workout, and whether the calories you eat will be used as fuel or stored as fat.


Here’s what you need to eat and drink to get the results you want:


Pre-Exercise Fluid Needs


Drink 16-20 ounces of water during the 1-2 hours before starting your workout.


Pre-Exercise Meal or Snack


Most of the fuel you use during exercise comes from the carbohydrates (called “glycogen”) and fat that’s stored in your muscles, liver, and fat cells. So you may not need to eat anything before you work out. If on the other hand, you have a hard time exercising without eating first, you’ll probably want to eat before your workout.


There are two suggestions for a pre-exercise meal/snack:


1. Eat a small (100- to 200-calorie) snack about 30 minutes before you work out. This snack should include fast-digesting (high glycemic index) carbohydrates and very little fat which digests slowly.  Here are some ideas:

Fruit juice

Fruit smoothie

High-glycemic fruits like pineapple, apricots, banana, mango, and watermelon

Sports drinks

Pretzels or bagels (but not whole grain varieties, which digest slowly)

Energy bars (look for 3-5 grams of protein, at least 15 grams of carbs, and very little fat)


2. Eat a nutritionally balanced meal 1-2 hours before your exercise. The larger the meal, and the more fat and protein it contains, the longer you may need to wait before exercising. Ideally, try to eat enough calories to equal about half the calories you expect to burn during your upcoming workout. So if you burn about 600 calories during your workout, aim for at least 300 calories during this meal — or a little more if your exercise is “high intensity” (over 75% of your maximum heart rate). At least 50-60% of these calories should come from carbohydrates, which should keep your blood sugar and energy levels fairly stable during your exercise session. Include some protein to help prevent the breakdown of muscle for fuel and give your muscles a headstart on recovery after exercise. Some good food choices and combinations for this kind of meal include:

Fruit and yogurt



Cereals (with more than 3 grams of fiber) and milk

Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit

Hummus and raw veggies

Hard boiled eggs (or egg whites)

Cottage cheese and fruit

Half a peanut butter or turkey/chicken sandwich on whole grain bread

Whole grain crackers with nut butter or cheese

Whole grain fig (or fruit) Newton cookies

Milk (especially chocolate milk)

Tomato or vegetable juice

Yogurt smoothie (with added protein powder, if desired)

Most protein/energy bars

The most important things are getting to know your body and how it responds to exercise, so that you can give it what it needs to perform at its best. Eating the right foods at the right times before you work out is essential to keeping your energy up, your workout performance high, and your body in fat-burning mode.


Tomorrow…What to Eat After You Work Out



Information extracted from http://tinyurl.com/422uet

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Chef Lynn Ware


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