Exercise and healthy eating hints


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We need exercise for health, fitness, and weight management, but, we need to eat a healthy diet to make that exercise most effective.
Healthy Eating And Exercise Tips
By Donovan Baldwin

If you exercise, you almost certainly are doing so in order to try and maintain good health.

Also, you are probably aware that, in addition to exercising regularly, in order to be physically fit you have to eat as well...and eat well! This is so your body will have the energy it needs to exercise and function, and to provide the nutrients needed to maintain tissues and organs necessary for the everyday tasks of life...and living.

To get the most out of any exercise program, and the most out of your life, what you eat before and after you workout is very important.

Here are a few healthy eating and exercise tips.

It doesn't matter if you are going to be doing a good cardio workout or a resistance workout, you should always make it a point to eat a balanced mix of protein and carbohydrates. The determining factor in choosing the correct percentage of carbs and protein you consume revolves around two important questions:

1. Are you going to do a cardio workout or a resistance workout?

2.  What intensity level are you going to exercise?

By the way, I would like to make a quick point here. The healthy eating and exercise tips on this page will only be, despite their very specific recommendations, viewed as general starting points for YOUR own personal healthy eating plan. Each of us is different, and a low intensity level of exercise for me may be a high intensity level for my wife. You may have to pay close attention to what your body is telling you and make adjustments in the recommendations.

In most cases, the ideal time for you to eat your pre workout meal is going to be at least an hour before you start, and not much farther away than that. If you are planning to exercise at a low intensity level, you should keep this pre workout meal down to 200 calories or so. If, on the other hand, you plan to exercise at a high level of intensity, you will probably need your meal to be between 400 and 500 calories.

Just to emphasize what I mentioned earlier about making adjustments for yourself.  I have found, and I am 63 years old, that it takes my body a little longer to process a meal than it used to. For me, a small meal about an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half before exercising seems to work best.

Before the Cardio Session

Those of you who are doing a cardio session will probably want to consume a mix of 2/3 carbs and 1/3 protein.  Choosing this mix will give you a longer sustained energy level.  This is from the extra carbs which are combined with enough protein to keep your muscle tissue from breaking down while you exercise.

Before the Resistance Session

For resistance exercise, such as with free weights and all in one machines such as a Bowflex or Total Gym, you'll probably want to eat a mix of about 1/3 carbs and 2/3 protein.  As you can see, this is a bit reversed from the cardio session as you will need more muscle repair than pure energy.  You will get plenty of energy from the carbs to perform each set, and the extra protein will help keep muscle tissue breakdown to a minimum while you exercise.

Healthy Eating and Exercise Tips After the Workout and the Importance of Glycogen

Believe it or not, what you eat after you exercise can be just as important as your pre workout meal. 

Anytime you exercise, whether it's a good cardio workout or a resistance workout, you deplete energy in the form of glycogen.

What is Glycogen Used For?

Well, your brain and central nervous system rely on glycogen as their main source of fuel.  So, if you don't replace it after you exercise, whether cardio or resistance, your body will begin to break down its own muscle tissue into amino acids, and then convert that into usable substitute fuel for the brain and the central nervous system.

Breaking Down Muscle Tissue - After the Resistance Workout

It happens more during resistance exercise than cardio or aerobics. The exercise breaks down muscle tissue by creating micro tears (as in tearing a piece of fabric). What this means, is that after your workout, your muscles go instantly into repair mode.  Protein is the key here for muscle repair.  You must supply protein to your body as you don't want muscle breaking down even further to create fuel instead of lost glycogen.

You need protein as this is needed to build up and repair these micro tears so that the muscle can not only heal, but increase in size and strength.  The carbs will not only replace the lost muscle glycogen, but will also help the protein get into muscle cells so it can be synthesized into a structural protein, or the muscle itself.

After your resistance workout, you should wait about 30 minutes before you eat.  This is so you won't take blood away from your muscles too quickly.  The blood flowing in your muscles will help the repair process by providing nutrients and oxygen and by removing the metabolic waste products which are the inevitable results of exercise.

Healthy Eating and Exercise Tips - Vitamins, Minerals, and Protein Supplements

I recommend a multivitamin supplement for most people today for a list of reasons too long to go into here.  However, if you are exercising regularly, you almost certainly will want to take a daily multivitamin to help your body function and recuperate more efficiently.  There are several good brands available in many stores, or you can buy multivitamins online from companies such as Shaklee and Vitamin Power.

Unless you are a bodybuilder like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and doing resistance exercises at an extremely intense level, you probably will not need to take a protein supplement unless you are simply unsure as to whether or not you can supply necessary protein levels within your diet.  If you find that you do not seem to recover from a workout rapidly enough, or if you are a senior, you might want to add some sort of protein supplement to your diet to "fill in the blanks".

Replenishing Energy - After the Cardio Workout

Once you have finished a good cardio workout, you will want to consume a small meal of mainly carbohydrates. These carbohydrates will preferably be those with high fiber. Rice, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, and northern fruits are excellent sources. Also, you might want to try to consume 30 - 50 grams of these types of carbs after you exercise. After your cardio workout, it is okay for most people to eat within 5 - 10 minutes although it will not hurt to wait a little longer if you desire.

You may be tired, but there will not have been nearly as much tissue damage as with the resistance workout, and your main issue will be to replace the energy stores you have depleted and allow the body time to remove metabolic waste products.

I hope these healthy eating and exercise tips have been of value to you.

While I do not normally recommend diets themselves, healthy eating is important to any health, fitness, or weight loss program. Click Here to learn more about Diet Direct Weight Loss Products.

If you want to learn how to burn fat, a great book to read is Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle by Tom Venuto

Healthy Eating and Exercise Tips
Page Updated 2:32 PM Thursday, August 11, 2022
Web Page Copyright 2022 by Donovan Baldwin