Foods to Eat Before and After Exercising

Submitted by Kevin Pederson on February 17, 2012

When a woman works out, it is essential to properly energize your body before and after the workout. Knowing which type of foods are best and when they should be consumed is a key factor to providing the energy your body needs to build and repair itself.


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Before a workout, you need to have complex carbohydrates. You need to understand what complex carbohydrates are and what they are not. Complex carbohydrates are starches that are broken down into glucose for your body to use as fuel.

Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down than simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates will cause you to have a rush of energy and then a crash as your body runs out of fuel. A complex carbohydrate, on the other hand, slowly breaks down and this process provides a steady source of fuel for your body.

Simple sugars are foods like cake, pastry, biscuits, chocolate, and any other foods that contain processed sugars. These foods are quickly converted to glycogen. When our bodies are not using this immediately, it gets converted to fat. The reason you are working out is to get rid of fat and gain extra muscle. Simple sugars defeat this purpose.

Simple carbohydrates that are not processed are great for your workout goals. It is important to keep them in their natural state. Some of these foods are fruits like apples, blackberries, melons, grapefruit, oranges and strawberries.

Keeping these foods in their natural state means they are not processed and put into cans (and other containers) and they have not had other sugars added to them. The best "container" for these foods are their own coverings.

Complex carbohydrates are whole foods that have not been excessively processed. The breakdown of sugars is a slower process so the glycogen has a chance to be used instead of being turned into fat. Because the process is slower, your body does not crash. You won't have cravings to try to compensate for the loss of fuel because you will have a steady fuel. Your body will feel fuller longer and you will probably eat less.

Some examples of complex carbohydrates are whole grains like bran, wheat germ, barley, buckwheat, brown rice and oatmeal. Root vegetables, corn, peas, beans and lentils are other great sources.

Eating a snack before your workout of about 200 calories will give you fuel for your workout without weighing you down. An example of a good snack is 6 ounces of yogurt with a half cup of fruit. Don't forget to keep your body hydrated before, during and after your workout.

Your post workout meal should consist of the carbohydrates mentioned earlier and added protein. Protein should be added to help your body recover and heal from the workout. You should avoid fats as much as possible.

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