Nutrition and fitness go hand in hand. A healthy diet energizes the body before exercise, makes fitness more effective, and helps repair muscles after a workout. March is National Nutrition Month, a program designed to teach people about the value of eating right for your lifestyle. So which foods can give you a better body?
How Nutrition Affects Fitness
Food fuels your body during exercise, helping you finish one more rep or run that extra mile. But not all food is created equal. Even nutritious foods can negatively impact your workout if you eat them at the wrong time. What do you need to know about nutrition and fitness?
Water should be your first priority when hitting the gym. Good hydration keeps your heart from over stimulating during a workout. It decreases muscle soreness and minimizes lethargy. During a workout you lose a significant amount of water from sweat, so it’s important to drink up before, during, and after your workout.
Carbs fuel your body during your workout. While both simple and complex carbs give you energy, simple carbs (sugar, white bread, etc) fuel your body for only a short time and lead to an energy crash. You should be eating complex carbohydrates, especially prior to an intense workout, to keep your muscles strong and your energy up.
Protein intake is critical to developing strong muscles. Not only does a high protein diet help you bulk up, it helps your muscles mend more quickly. Eat a moderate amount of protein to maintain muscle mass, and increase your protein intake to build muscle mass.
Vitamins and Minerals
You may not need to “bulk up” on vitamins like you do carbs, but nutrient deficiencies cause low energy, cramping muscles, and other uncomfortable side effects. If you’re deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, invest in a dietary supplement.
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