How to Eat to Fuel an Aerobic Workout
If you’ve made the decision to start an aerobic workout, you’re already on your way to living a longer and healthier life. Getting 30 minutes of regular aerobic activity most days of the week helps you maintain a healthy weight, boost your energy, improve your mood and feel good about yourself.
Now that you’re working out, you want to make sure you fuel your body with the right foods to maximize energy for your workouts and get the best results.
4 Steps to Eat to Fuel an Aerobic Workout
1. Drink water
Dehydration is a sure way to zap your energy levels during an aerobic workout. For best results drink 17 to 20 ounces of water two to three hours before your workout, 8 ounces every 20 minutes during your workout and 8 ounces when you’re done.
2. Eat healthy carbs
Carbs are an important source of energy during an aerobic workout, and are necessary after your workout to rebuild your energy stores and promote recovery. To maximize your vitamin and mineral intake, choose nutrient-rich carbs such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and low-fat dairy products.
3. Get your protein
Protein is important for building and repairing muscle after you exercise. You need 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight every day, which is a little more than people who don’t exercise. For example, a 150-pound person needs 75 to 120 grams of protein per day. Good protein sources include poultry, seafood, tofu, legumes and low-fat dairy products.
4. Limit unhealthy fats
While your body does use some fat as a source of fuel during your aerobic activity, you want to make sure you limit your intake of foods high in saturated fat, like full-fat dairy products, bacon and marbled red meats. Instead, include the healthier unsaturated fats found in products like olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocados.
Tips and Warnings
- If you sweat a lot during your workout, you may need to drink an electrolyte replacement beverage to replace sodium losses.
- Foods high in fat and protein take your body longer to digest. Before a workout load up on easy-to-digest carbs, like fruits or whole-grain products, so you don’t feel sluggish.
- Before starting any exercise or new diet plan, you should first talk to your doctor about safety and health concerns.
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