Healthy foods enhance workout

By Blake Glosson

Eating around a workout seems counterproductive, but your body needs food for fuel and to repair muscles.

The most important macronutrients to consume around a workout are carbohydrates and protein.

Carbs are converted to glucose in the body, which is the body’s main fuel source. Protein is made up of amino acids. Amino acids compose the muscle tissue and play an integral role in muscle rebuilding process, which is necessary for improved strength and decreased chance of injury.

I consume protein throughout the day and wait until post-workout to load up on carbs. This combination ensures optimal muscle recovery and might also support fat loss.

To help further explain the importance of exercise nutrition, Marie Norris, graduate nutrition and dietetics student, will host Fueling for Winter Activities, a food sampling and education event from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the lobby of the Outdoor Adventure Center.

“Your body is [like] a furnace; it requires a constant fuel supply,” Norris said. “If you consume [foods] high in whole grain carbohydrates, combined with a protein, it will actually help your body support its ability to sustain itself through the activity.”

Norris will offer free oatmeal fuel bars to students and will share the recipes. The bars are intended to show students how healthy snacks for workouts can be convenient and tasteful.

She will also discuss the benefits nutrient-dense foods have on exercise performance.

Even if you’re trying to lose weight, you need to eat something around a workout. Chocolate milk, a tuna sandwich or an apple with peanuts will help you recover.

“For someone who’s doing weight loss, a common mistake is that when they’re trying to reduce body fat, they assume that skipping meals will help,” Norris said.

To lose body fat you need to exercise regularly and consume fewer calories than you burn off per day.

Around a workout is the least likely time for the body to store body fat. During this period, nutrients are more prone to be used to repair muscle and to refuel muscle energy stores. Skipping meals, especially after exercise, will hurt your workouts.

When I finish exercising I usually make a shake with chocolate milk, yogurt, ice and chocolate whey protein powder. This is a delicious way to get carbs and protein.

Eating around exercise will improve your results. Don’t be afraid of food; rather, use it to your advantage.