As warmer weather approaches and people are getting back on track with their healthy New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to make sure you are making the most of your exercise routine.
Jim Sawin, the health and wellness director at the Huber Heights YMCA and the assistant track and field coach at Cedarville University, to offer foods and drinks you should consume and avoid before your next workout.
What to consume
1. Water: Water is by far the best drink prior to working out. Staying hydrated can help you perform better. Hydrate pre-exercise with two to three cups of water, two to three hours before exercising.
2. Whole wheat bagel or toast: Focus on foods that have a low-glycemic index such as a whole wheat bagel or toast. This is a ‘slow release’ carbohydrate, which means it is more slowly digested. Blood glucose and insulin levels do not spike as high, which helps burn more fat. The remaining three foods also have a low-glycemic index.
3. Fruit: Fruit contains natural sugar that your body can use as fuel. It is also easy to digest and allows your body to easily absorb its nutrients that your body can use to keep going through your workout.
4. Yogurt: Yogurt contains calcium, which is good for your bones. Eat your fruits with yogurt, and you already have a perfect snack that will boost your energy levels and keep you satisfied throughout any physical activity.
5. Oatmeal: Oatmeal will supply you with enough energy to help you have a better workout, whether you are working out at the gym or going for a walk or run outside.
What to avoid
1. White bread: White bread is a high-glycemic index food, so it should be replaced by whole wheat bread. White bread is not necessarily bad for you prior to exercise, but eating whole wheat bread will likely help you burn more fat.
2. French fries: Deep-fried fatty foods will slow you down and make you feel sluggish and bloated. I would avoid all fast food.
3. Restaurant leftovers: Restaurant foods are usually filled with sauces, seasonings and spices. As you get moving, you may feel some heartburn.
4. Soda: Soda causes gas and bloating, not to mention all the sugar you are ingesting. I always say it’s never wise to drink your calories. Stick to water.
5. Sports drinks: This may surprise you, but sports drinks are not good to have prior to exercising. While they provide a quick boost, they won’t provide sustained energy. I would recommend a sports drink after exercise, but you may want to dilute it with some water, as they are high in sugar.