Snacking smart to preform better

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Low-fat yogurt and fresh fruit are full of the carbs and proteins you need to optimize your workout. (ELLEN SMITH/The Daily Campus)
The body is a machine that needs fuel in order to perform. One of the best ways to optimize a hard workout is by eating a healthy snack before and after exercising.

Healthy doesn’t necessarily mean a wimpy salad with a teaspoon of dressing on the side. In this instance, it is better to stick to foods that are high in protein and carbohydrates. These are the perfect fuels to make the most out of your workout.

Waking up early in the morning to start a workout might seem like the most difficult aspect of living a healthy life style, but grabbing a snack on the way out the door can prove to be harder. Instead of hitting the snooze button for the fifth time, take five minutes to eat a quick snack and give the body some fuel.

There are many benefits to eating a pre-workout snack. It will give the body the energy it needs to keep working hard throughout your exercises. A pre-workout snack is even more important if you are planning a long workout that requires a lot of stamina.

When it comes to what a snack should consist of there are a few things to keep in mind. An ideal snack is high in simple carbohydrates, commonly found in fruits and protein to provide the fuel needed to work hard. Stay away from foods high in fiber. If you don’t, you might experience gas pains and possibly an unexpected trip to the bathroom.

You also want to make sure that you don’t eat too much.

There is a reason it is called a snack and not a meal. Eating more than 150 calories might cause you to feel sluggish and your body to cramp up. Watch out for protein bars that are hiding 200 calories or more. Just because you think it’s healthy doesn’t mean that it actually is.

Here are some healthy and smart choices when it comes to a pre-workout snack: a protein shake made with whey protein and fresh berries, some oatmeal with dried fruit, a yogurt parfait made with non-fat yogurt, whole grain cereal and fresh fruit, fresh or dried fruit or a few
cheese crackers.

These snacks should be eaten 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.

This will give the body time to digest before you try to push your body to its limits.

After sweating too much and working harder than you ever have, the last thing you want is to chug down a protein shake, but a post-workout snack is key in giving your body the nourishment you lost during your workout.

Post-workout snacks are important to refuel your body and kick start repair on your muscles. The best snacks are high in simple carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fat. Protein is great because it is full of amino acids that help build muscle.

This seems very similar to what you should eat for a pre-workout snack and that is because it is. This is perfect because you can make twice as much of your pre-workout snack and save half for after you exercise.

If you want to make something different for your post-workout snack you might want to consider some hummus and whole wheat Pita bread which is filled with protein and carbohydrates.

Another unconventional post-workout snack is low-fat chocolate milk. This may sound really strange, but according to research chocolate milk is an affordable recovery beverage with a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. This ratio is similar to many commercial recovery beverages.

Chocolate milk also provides your body with the fluids and sodium that you lost during your workout. If you consume chocolate milk immediately after your workout and then again two hours later, you can optimize your recovery.

By eating a pre and post-workout snack you might notice that your body can take more damage during your workout. With protein helping your body repair, your muscles tend to be less sore and fatigued after a workout.

You might even notice that lifting an extra five pounds or running an extra mile seems less daunting and easier to accomplish.

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