What to Eat Before, During and After a Workout

Before You Exercise
Researchers have found that eating high-carbohydrate foods 1 to 4 hours before exercising provides plenty of blood glucose for your working muscles. Your body breaks down foods like bananas, bagels, and fruit juice to give you the energy you need for a good workout.

While You Exercise
Perspiration (sweat) drains your body of fluids. The harder you exercise and the warmer it is, the more you sweat. And the more you sweat, the more important it is to replace the fluids you’ve lost. Drink plenty of fluids while you work out—at least half a cup for every 20 minutes of exercise.

After You Exercise
If you exercise hard and non-stop for more than 90 minutes, you should replace the electrolytes and carbohydrates your body lost through perspiration. There are special “sports” drinks that will do the job, or you can make a homemade sports drink by mixing 2 to 4 teaspoons of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and some flavoring (like a teaspoon of lemon juice) in 8 ounces of water.

Snacks are also a great way to refuel after a workout. Choose snacks from different food groups—a glass of low-fat milk and a few graham crackers, an apple or celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins, or some dry cereal.

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