August 22nd, 2008
Starting a new exercise plan will give you a concrete feeling that you’re doing something to lose weight, gain strength, and take care of your health. It takes energy, dedication, and a lot of will power to start a new routine, and even more to stick with it, eventually turning your fitness plan into a lifestyle. But even if you think you’re losing weight by working out, monitoring your diet after you change your exercise routine is still important. You need to eat the right kinds of foods to help you keep up your energy as you burn more calories, and to give you the maximum benefit of your exercising.
If you’re normally someone who doesn’t pay enough attention to health and nutrition, you might find that you’re always hungry after starting a work out plan. Even if you’re eating a lot, if you’re not eating foods that are packed with nutrition, then your calories are going to waste: you’re not filling up or boosting your energy. Your body needs lean proteins, easily digested carbohydrates — like crackers or fruit — and fiber-rich foods. Different exercise plans have different dietary nuances, and if you’re eating before working out, keep your snack light and low-fat. But during the rest of the day, avoid foods that spike insulin levels, which lead to sugar crashes later. Eggs, whole grains, lean protein, leafy green vegetables, and brightly colored vegetables will give your body the iron, healthy carbohydrates, fiber and protein it needs for energy.
If you normally restrict your calories to control your weight, you’ll need to eat more once you start working out. Nuts, avocado and peanut butter are good ways to get healthy fats, so add these to your normal salad, snack or sandwich. Don’t eat a bag of chips just because you’re hungry and worked out: choose whole wheat crackers, and fiber-rich salads and fruit to get more calories in without draining energy.
Drinking more water is also important as you start working out more. If you find it hard to drink eight glasses per day, eat more water-based fruit, like watermelon, grapefruit and berries, and drink a glass before each meal and with every snack. Bring water or a sugar-free drink with you when you exercise to keep you hydrated as you sweat.
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