Fuel to stay fit

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Everyone knows that the best way to stay in shape is to eat right and stay active. Although, exactly what we should eat gets a bit fuzzy as we are told many different foods and snacks are “the best” to fuel your workout.

While some people think that eating before going to the gym is counterproductive, doing so makes it possible to keep up your workout instead of toning it down due to a lack of energy.

When you’re getting ready to hit the gym, carbohydrates are your best friend. Make sure it’s a combination of simple and complex carbs, since the combination ensures the release of energy will last through your entire workout.

Here are some ideas from Fitness Magazine of good pre-workout snacks to help get you going:

Whole-wheat toast with banana and cinnamon – The toast and fruit will give you the perfect mix of simple and complex carbs, while cinnamon can help stabilize blood sugar.

Smoothies – Combine your favorite sliced fruit with some Greek yogurt to get another great mix of carbs that will get you moving without slowing you down. You can always get pre-made smoothies as well, preferably whey based.

Oatmeal with fresh fruit – Oatmeal provides great energy during your workout and adding fruit helps avoid dehydration during your workout.

Just as important as what you eat before the gym, what you eat after can either enhance or negate your entire workout. If you proceed to eat an entire pizza by yourself, chances are you aren’t going to see any improvement from where you were before.

On the flip side, you do need to eat something after you exercise, otherwise your body is prone to start breaking down muscle instead of fat. Wait at least 15 minutes, and then eat something packed with protein and nutrients to help rebuild your muscles.

Fitness Magazine has listed these as some good post-workout foods to help your body recover:

Grilled chicken and vegetables – Chicken is a great source of lean protein and vegetables are full of great nutrients to help keep your body in working order.

Egg Omelet – Eggs are another good source of protein, and omelets give you the freedom to fill with whatever your body needs. Try topping your omelet with avocado slices that provide heart healthy fats and actually help your body absorb nutrients from other foods.

Fish and vegetables – Salmon and tuna are both packed with nutrients and more of those heart healthy fats. The combination is ideal for a post- workout meal.

Make sure you’re eating healthy and helping fuel your body properly. Your body is your best friend as long as you choose to take care of it and fuel it right. If you’re eating right and exercising well, your body will continue to work the way you want it to and you’ll see great results from your invested gym time.