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Proper Workout Diet & Nutrition

The Right Diet To Improve A Workout

Copyright Nitin Chhoda

It's hard to exercise with a busy work schedule.  When you are in the gym, it hard to push your body to get the results you need. By eating smart, you can feel positively explosive for your next workout and even better for the one after that.

Problem: I don't like to eat before my morning run, or right before a long bike ride, but then I lose steam halfway through the workout. Solution: Eat while you are exercising. You need some type of energy replacement when exercising.  Since it's not recommended that you eat (a full meal) two or three hours before you work out, the best thing to do is eat something while you exercise. The best choices are small, easily assimilated foods that are nutritionally dense, such as sports drinks or bananas. Liquids are absorbed faster than solids, but if you want an energy bar, a few sips of water will aid digestion.

Problem: I don't recover from a tough aerobic exercise session as quickly as some people I know. I hate being sore after a workout. Solution: Eat immediately after the session, because your muscles are depleted of their primary fuel source (glycogen, a derivative of glucose). After a long ride or run, when you eat is as important as what you eat. There is a window of opportunity one or two hours after exercise. If you eat during this period, you'll achieve faster muscle-glycogen regeneration. The best ratio of nutrients for recovery is 60 percent carbohydrates and 40 percent protein.

Consumer more protein foods or supplements especially after weight training workouts. Delayed-onset muscle soreness is an inevitable part of weight training, but if you experience excessive or consistent pain after every workout, you need to make some changes.

Problem: I don't have the mental focus to get through my workout. Solution: Put protein on your plate. Try eating protein at lunch and cutting back on starchy carbs, such as pasta and rice. Protein contains the amino acid tyrosine, which boosts levels of dopamine and norepinephrine (cousins of adrenaline). It also blocks the absorption of carbohydrate induced tryptophan, which can make you groggy. "If you find yourself mentally lagging, try some tuna, cottage cheese or chicken an hour before to harness mental ability.

Problem: I cramp during my workouts. Solution: Try eating more bananas, oranges or baked potatoes. Cramping is usually caused by a mineral imbalance. The most important thing you can do to prevent muscle cramps is get more potassium in your diet. Eating more bananas--and fruits and vegetables in general--is the best way of controlling the problem, adds Moore. Sports drinks can also help you replenish what you sweat out. If you are working out longer than 60 minutes, a sports drink works well in replenishing lost fluids and electrolytes. They supply some carbohydrates necessary to reduce fatigue. Anything under 60 minutes: water is the answer. And don't forget to drink lots of water AFTER your workout; 2 cups of water for every pound lost.

Problem: I'm too wired from exercising to sleep at night. Solution: Drink some warm milk. Tryptophan in milk will shut you down. Tryptophan is an amino acid and precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. Carbs boost serotonin, so add pasta, rice or potatoes to your post-training meals. You might also consider kava, an herbal relaxant.

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