Before, During and After your Workout

Eating too much before exercising can make you feel sluggish and can upset your stomach, causing cramps or diarrhea. That's because the muscles and digestive system compete in order to derive energy for physiologic functioning. If you are planning a rigorous exercise regimen aiming to achieve muscular strength and toning, you may consider eating a light, nutritious snack, as not eating before exercising (in this case) can be harmful. Low blood sugar levels that result from not eating can make you feel weak and tired, and your mental abilities may be affected as well, making you slow to react. Also, there’s a chance you may faint while exercising.

To get the maximum benefit from your workout:

  • Time your meals based on their size. Eat large meals at least three to four hours before exercising and one to two hours before exercising.
  • Don't skip meals as it may cause low blood sugar. This can make you feel weak and tired.
  • Eat after your workout in order to help your muscles recover and replace their glycogen stores. Have a meal that contains high levels of proteins and carbohydrates within two hours of a rigid exercise session. Women, in particular, need high amounts of protein after resistance training.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Your body produces heat when you exercise. This radiates out when you perspire, draining electrolytic elements like potassium, calcium, sodium and chloride from your system. If you don't replace the fluid, the heart rate will increase and body temperature will rise, putting you at the risk of dehydration.

To stay well hydrated during and after exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you:

  • Drink more fluid to balance daily fluid losses on days when temperature and humidity are high.
  • Drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (0.5 to 0.8 liters) of water before a workout.
  • Drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (0.5 to 0.8 liters) of water after a workout.
  • Drink about 1 cup (0.25 liters) of water every 15 to 20 minutes during a workout.
  • Water is the best way to replace lost bodily fluids. But if exercising for more than 60 minutes, sip a sports drink which is high on sodium to help maintain electrolyte balance, which helps gives you more energy as it helps you rehydrate more quickly.

When should one consult a doctor on exercise?

In case one suffers from the following physical and physiological complaints, it is advisable to consult a doctor before going for a workout regimen:

  • Extreme shortness of breath after activities.
  • Feeling semi-conscious or dizzy.
  • Bone or joint pains that could be made worse by activity.
  • Insulin-dependent diabetes, which is not properly controlled.
  • Planning to vigorously exercise after a long period of inactivity

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