Using a simple, well-balanced diet formula, you can figure out what to eat and when so you have the energy you need to exercise.
The amount of food a person needs will vary with age, sex, weight, and activity level. The rate at which you burn calories depends not only on the type of exercise you do, but also on how vigorously you do it. And it’s important to divide your calories between carbohydrates, protein, and fat:
Carbohydrates — sugars and starches — are broken down by the body into glucose, which muscles use for energy. Excess carbs are stored in the liver and tissues as glycogen and released as needed. It’s glycogen that provides the energy for high-intensity exercise and prolonged endurance. Some good sources of carbohydrates are whole grain breads and cereals, fruit, vegetables, pasta, and rice.
Protein should be part of each of your major meals because it will help slow absorption of carbohydrates. Fish, eggs, chicken, meat, and beans are excellent sources of protein, and 3 ounces per meal is enough.
You need some fat in your diet, too. Low-fat dairy products, like 1 percent milk, and lean cuts of meat will give you the right amount of fat your body needs.
Try to have a combination of items from all three of these food groups at each of your major meals, says Travis. For a healthy breakfast, have a high-fiber cereal (either oatmeal or another whole-grain cereal), a low-fat dairy product, and fruit or a glass of juice. The easiest lunch might be a sandwich made with lean meat, poultry, or fish on whole-grain bread, with raw veggies and fruit served on the side
Factor in Fluids
It’s particularly important to drink fluids before, during, and after exercising. If you exercise strenuously, try to drink fluids even if you’re not thirsty. Water is a good choice for most activities.