By: Steve Avellino/Gym Director
Where were we?
Yes, we were speaking about exercise “basics,” weren’t we?
In March, we reviewed the importance of the warm-up and cool down phases of exercise. Later, in April, we discussed choosing appropriate resistance amounts and maintaining proper form during exercise.
This month, I feel the need to address another very basic topic as it relates directly to exercise.
It’s time to talk about NUTRITION.
Now, you already know my views about the “fast-fix, drop 20 pounds in two days” type of diets. They do more harm than good; results are temporary at best, and, in the end, you’ll probably be fatter, yes fatter, than when you started.
Any such diets can only succeed by dehydrating you or depleting you of fluids, muscle mass and nutrients in order to get those numbers on the scale to drop so fast. This is down right ridiculous.
I won’t bore you on how they do it, but I’ll tell you this much: it’s certainly not the way your body wants to loose weight. Your body is incredibly intelligent. It doesn’t respond well under certain changes, which includes these crazy starvation and gimmicky diets.
It has been proven over and over again that slow and steady weight loss brought about by a proper balance of diet and exercise is the only true key to success.
Now, let’s touch upon feeding your body for exercise…I suggest you do.
Sleeping all night and rising in the morning on an empty stomach allows you limited available energy to tackle a serious exercise session.
However, timing is important too. You don’t want to eat and exercise too soon after eating, either. This will confuse the body, as it will attempt to digest food and fuel the exercising muscles at the same time, which could cause some intestinal discomfort and just slow you down.
Generally speaking, eating a nice mix of light protein and carbohydrates an hour or two prior to exercise can keep you fueled for the task at hand. (Now this doesn’t include the diabetic community, the hypo-glycemic sufferers, or anybody else with specific dietary/medical requirements.)
Additionally, it is equally important to stay hydrated. You really don’t need all those sugary sports drinks for a three-minute walk on a treadmill. (A bottle of water will do the trick in most cases.) The message here is to stay hydrated before, during and after exercise.
Nutrition is such a vast field, with so many existing opinions out there, and so many trap doors to avoid. Your doctor can point you in the right direction for a solid nutritional foundation. Tell him or her that you need to know what to eat in accordance to exercise. Knowing your specific medical history gives your doctor an advantage to lending such advice.
The point I wish to leave you with is this:
Being prepared for any task takes awareness, knowledge and open mindedness.
Exercise results vary among people to begin with. Arming yourself with the correct energy stores before, during and after exercise will give you an edge to succeed.
Remember, food is important, but balance is key.