Individuals generally workout for weight loss, maintenance or fitness. Exercise burns fewer calories than you think, for instance, you burn only 100 calories for every 1.5 kilometers that you walk or run. But, before going to the gym from work or going out for a morning walk, individuals tend to drink some protein shake or munch on something for energy without realizing that they are overdoing the calorie intake. A normal-sized energy bar contains about 250 calories while a standard-size fruit smoothie (500 ml) contains about 350 to 400 calories. So, what is the purpose of rushing out to exercise when you have already overconsumed calories?
What we need is a balanced intake of calories to fuel your workout such that it does not spoil your effort to burn calories while exercising.
As the Sun Rises
Low-intensity morning workout needs minimal fuel that helps to break your overnight fast without overdoing the calories. For example, workouts such as walking, bike ride or yoga need fuel in the form of water for hydration and a 100-calorie granola bar for sustained energy for workout. Post-workout, eat a healthy breakfast consisting of carbs and proteins. You can have a slice of whole-grain toast, one hard-cooked egg and 100-percent fruit juice or oatmeal with berries and fat-free milk.
When the Sun Sets
If you plan to exercise in the evening, eat your lunch some 3-4 hours before your workout. A well-balanced meal consisting of items such as a colorful veggie salad, grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup helps in fueling you with energy for a late-evening workout, but you can add a little more energy to your body some 15-30 minutes prior your workout session by eating a banana, handful of grapes or pear with a glass of water. It is enough to hydrate your body with water if your workout is not going to last for more than an hour, but if it goes beyond that you can aim for a sports drink. If you exercise beyond 60 minutes in hot climate, it is essential that you drink 90-180 ml of sports drink every 15-20 minutes.
Be sure to drink water after any workout. Planning for a dinner immediately after workout negates the need of any snack after your activity. If in case, your dinner might be delayed, it is better to eat a small snack meanwhile. You can eat a bowl of sprouts with veggies, 180 ml of low-fat Greek yogurt or drink 180-230 ml of fat-free chocolate milk.
Avoid the unhealthy ritual of skipping your breakfast, eating a fragile lunch and exercising directly after office work with minimal fuel in your body. In such cases, you tend to overeat your dinner as you have denied yourself of any food since morning. Also, never reward yourself with fatty foods for a well-done workout session as all your efforts are wiped away in such cases. Rather, it would be great if you reward yourself with a new novel or an excellent pair of gym pants.