Many people think that if you exercise, you can eat whatever you want. Even though your daily caloric requirement will increase, attention to diet is necessary in order to meet your exercise and fitness goals.
Here are a few guiding points:
- Meet, but don’t exceed, your caloric requirements. It is easy to overestimate the number of calories burned during exercise and underestimate the number of calories that you consume. Try to modify your diet each day to match your level of physical activity for that same day.
- Stay fully hydrated throughout the day. Our bodies function poorly with even mild levels of dehydration.
- Get a daily dose of vitamins. The best sources are always from food. The stress of exercise can increase your need for trace vitamins and minerals that can be found in fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
- Don’t skip breakfast.
- Eat more whole grains and less sugar. Think of complex carbohydrates as a “slow release” form of energy to carry you through the day.
- Eat a power snack one hour prior to exercise. A small cup of yogurt and a handful of nuts would provide the ideal amount of protein and fiber.
- Minimize alcohol intake.
- Manage caffeine intake. Consuming caffeine in moderation just prior to exercise can boost performance.