Thursday, November 02, 2006

Beat The Energy Crisis

It's hard to squeeze working out into a busy schedule. So when you are in the gym, you want to avoid the impulse to curl up on the weight bench and take a nap. By practicing smart nutrition, you can feel positively explosive for your next workout and even better for the one after that. To that end, we've addressed some of your most frequent workout complaints and provided surefire nutrition solutions.

Problem: I don't like to eat before my morning run, or right before a long bike ride, but then I gas out halfway through.

Solution: Eat on your feet.

You need some type of energy replacement when exercising, says exercise physiologist Eric Sternlicht, PhD. Since it's not recommended that you eat ( a full meal) two or three hours before you work out, the best thing to do is eat something while you exercise.

The best choices are small, easily assimilated foods that are nutritionally dense, such as sports drinks or bananas. Liquids are absorbed faster than solids, but if you want an energy bar, a few sips of water will aid digestion.

Problem: I don't recover from a tough cardio session as quickly as my training partners.

Solution: Run to the fridge.

After a long ride or run, when you eat is as important as what you eat. There is a window of opportunity one or two hours after exercise. If you eat during this period, you'll achieve faster muscle-glycogen resynthesis. The best ration of nutrients for recovery is 60 percent carbohydrates and 40 percent protein.

Problem: I camp during my workouts.

Solution: Go bananas ( or go cantaloupes, oranges or baked potatoes).

Cramping is usually caused by a mineral imbalance. The most important thing you can do to prevent muscle cramps is get more potassium in your diet.

Eating more bananas - and fruits and vegetables in general - is the best way of controlling the problem. Sports drink can also help you replenish what you sweat out.

If you are working out longer than 60 minutes, a sports drink works well in repleneshing lost fluids and electrolytes. They supply some carbohydrates necessary to reduce fatigue. Anything under 60 minutes: water is the answer. And don't forget to drink lots of water after your workout; 2 cups of water for every pound lost.

Problem: My muscles are constantly sore from weight training.
Solution: Eat your protein.

Delayed-onset muscle soreness is an inevitable part of weight training, but if you experience excessive or consistent pain after every workout, you neet to shake thing up. In dealing with DOMS, balanced nutrition is very important. You neet to get adequate protein to repair the damage that's been caused to your muscles. Other nutrients you can get through your diet, such as ginger and turmeric, can also help prevent DOMS.

Problem: I don't have the mental focus to get through my workout
Solution: Put protein on your plate

Try eating protein at lunch and cutting back on starchy carbs, such as pasta and rice. Protein contains the amino acid tyrosine, which boosts levels of dopamine and norepinephrine (cousins of adrenaline). It also blocks the absorption of carbohydrate-induced tryptophan, which can make you groggy. If you find yourself mentally laggin, try some tuna, cottage cheese or chicken an hour before to harness mental ability.

(Note: can you see just how important adequate protein is to your diet?)

Problem: I'm too wired from exercising to sleep at night.
Solution: Drink some warm you-know-what.

It sounds hokey, but warm milk does the trick. The tryptophan in milk will shut you down. Tryptophan is an amino acid and precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. Carbs boost serotonin, so add pasta, rice or potatoes to your post-training meals. You might also consider kava, an herbal relaxant.

1 comment:

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