Thursday, February 21, 2008

Nutrition And Exercise

By Courtney Westlake


It's no secret that nutrition plays a role in the health and wellness of our bodies. Good nutrition is essential for wellbeing when it comes to exercise, disease prevention and for growth of our bodies, said Amanda Jillson, assistant director of fitness and instructional programs at the TRAC.

"Getting the right amount of nutrition is very vital with exercise; it involves how muscles recover, and the input and output of energy you have before, during and after workouts," she said. "It's important to get the right amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins."

For those that like to get their workouts in first thing in the morning, don't forget to get some food in your system to prevent nausea, dizziness or side aches. Between 200 and 300 calories is adequate to get your body going in the morning before working out, Jillson said.

"You want to avoid fat or protein directly in the morning because your body needs something it can quickly digest,” she said. "Some examples of good morning foods are raisins, bagels, granola, bananas or other fruit."

For those who exercise around the lunch hour, be sure to eat before that workout as well, perhaps a mid-morning snack around 300 to 400 calories. Jillson recommended following a 60-20-20 rule; you should eat a light snack or meal consisting of 60 percent carbohydrates, 20 percent proteins and 20 percent fats.

"That would be a good mix to help energize you during your workout," Jillson said. "And then you want to make sure you eat your lunch after you exercise of course."

For those who prefer to work out in the evenings, after work or later in the night, Jillson said that similar standards should apply to the lunch hour workout. You should eat an hour or two beforehand – a mid-afternoon snack of about 300 to 400 calories.

"And you definitely want to eat after you work out because your body is burning calories post-workout," Jillson recommended. "Sometimes it actually burns more calories than you did during your workout, just because your metabolism is increased during that time."