Summer is here! The long, warm days are inviting us to get outside and get active.
Now is the time to kick your fitness regimen into high gear.
Here are five nutrition tips to support you every step of the way.
Put on your workout gear and get ready for a healthy, fit, and active summer!
1. Optimize Your Workout by Staying Hydrated
Did you know that 46% of exercisers are likely to go to the gym dehydrated? This is according to a study published in 2006 in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.
Dehydration reduces aerobic endurance and can result in increased body temperature, increased heart rate, disorientation, and even physical collapse.
You may be doing a seemingly simple workout but feel like your heart is going to beat right out of your chest! This is most likely due to dehydration.
Blood volume depends on fluids. If we’re not drinking enough water, our heart has to work harder to get blood pumping throughout the body.
Whether you are going for a long bike ride or are simply gardening for the day, the best way to stay hydrated this summer is to drink more water.
2. Eat a Light Meal Before Your Workout
Eating a large meal prior to a workout may leave you feeling sluggish or with cramps because your muscles and digestive system are competing for energy sources.
So if you plan to exercise after a full meal, wait 2-3 hours to give your body a chance to digest it all.
On the other hand, not eating at all before exercise can cause low blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling weak or faint.
MayClinic.org has some good advice: “Most people can eat small snacks right before and during exercise. The key is how you feel. Do what works best for you.
“Snacks eaten soon before exercise probably won’t give you added energy if your workout lasts less than 60 minutes, but they may prevent distracting hunger pangs.
“If your workout is longer than 60 minutes, you may benefit by including a carbohydrate-rich food or beverage during the workout.
Good snack options include:
● An energy bar
● A banana, an apple or other fresh fruit
● A fruit smoothie
● A low-fat granola bar
● Sports drink or diluted juice
“A healthy snack is especially important if you plan a workout several hours after a meal.”
3. Replace Protein After a Workout
Have you ever strayed from an exercise regimen because you didn’t recover quickly enough from a workout? Most of us have.
But you can enhance recovery by replenishing your body with protein and carbohydrates immediately after a workout to replenish glycogen stores that are depleted during exercise.
Stick to your exercise regimen by drinking a post-workout shake immediately after your workout. It will give you the nutrients you need to rapidly recover and repair muscle tissue.
Shakes are a great source of protein (important for muscle building) and a delicious and convenient way to help you lose the right kind of weight. They’re also a good source of fiber, helping to keep you feeling full longer.
4. Keep your Joints Healthy
Getting that last mile in, struggling for that last weight-lifting rep, or playing that extra set of tennis can be tough on joints.
Joints, the junction where one bone meets the other, are protected by cartilage, a resilient shock absorber.
Joint health can be affected by many factors, including exercise and simple day-to-day activities.
Help put the spring back in your step with a joint health supplement containing glucosamine, a key building block for larger molecules such as proteoglycans, which give cartilage elasticity, strength, and resiliency.
And when you overdo a workout this summer, try rubbing a pain-relieving cream into the affected area to provide temporary relief for occasional joint and muscle pain.
5. Daily Nutrition is Key to Every Workout
Exercisers need to make sure that their bodies are in top form, and that means getting important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients every single day.
For example, antioxidants are critical to prevent free-radical damage caused by increased oxygen utilization during exercise, and the B vitamins convert the food you eat into fuel for working muscles.
If you’re not already, we recommend taking a supplement for daily nutritional support.
Look for one with antioxidant compounds and essential vitamins & minerals for your age, gender and lifestyle.
We are health and fitness professionals, but we are not doctors.
So please consult with a medical professional before following my advice.