Summer is just around the corner, and you may find yourself heading to the gym more often or being more physically active. It is important to exercise regularly to stay in shape, but it is also important to eat a variety of healthy foods that will give you energy before and after a workout. Carbohydrates such as fruits, whole grains, and starchy vegetables provide our bodies with energy, which help us get through a yoga class or outdoor run. Another essential nutrient is protein. Protein foods such as poultry, nuts, milk, cheese, and fish help to restore body tissue and build muscle, which we need especially after a vigorous exercise routine. Both will help you reach your exercise and weight loss goals!

Hydrate. Drinking water is essential whether you are doing mild or intense exercise. Drink an 8-ounce glass of water 10 minutes before exercise and continue to drink every 10 to 15 minutes during to replenish yourself.

Eat. Give your body what it needs so you can get through that workout. Be sure to eat something an hour before you start. Great carbohydrate snacks include:

– Yogurt with fresh fruit

– Half a turkey sandwich

– Crackers and cheese

– Steel-cut oatmeal

Restore. If you’re feeling tired after your workout, your body is telling you to give it more energy! Eat something as soon as you can to get the benefit of that exercise metabolism boost. Combining carbohydrates with lean proteins is a good way to repair muscle and give you the energy to move on with your day. My favorite post-workout foods are:

– Glass of Lowfat or Skim Milk

– Peanut Butter with Pretzels

– Lowfat Cottage Cheese and Pineapple

– Light Tuna on Pita

Rest. Don’t burn yourself out. Be sure to give yourself a day off and focus on yourself. Relax with a book or spend time with friends to let your body repair itself for the next workout. You will stay on track and be less stressed!

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