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Stay Fueled and Hydrated
If you don't eat before your workout, you may get a drop in blood sugar that leaves you weak, tired and cranky. Some people even get nauseous, which is why all gyms should have trashcans strategically placed throughout the building. When you're weak, tired or out of it, you're much more likely to hurt yourself. Your body needs energy for your workouts, so eating 1 to 2 hours beforehand will keep you fueled and ready. There's a myth that working out on an empty stomach can help you burn more fat
, but it's tough to burn fat when you're too hungry to exercise. Eating something will give you the energy you need to work harder and burn more calories. A few basic tips:
- Eat 100-200 calories an hour before your workout. You may need to experiment to find what feels best for your body. If you're exercising in the morning, you may want something lighter, like juice or a granola bar.
- Avoid too much protein or fat just before your workout. They take longer to digest than carbs and may lead to gastrointestinal problems that will make you regret working out so close to your meal.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration leads to a bad workout and poor performance. Drink about 16 oz in the hour before you exercise and sip water throughout your workout. If you're working out for longer than an hour, you may want to use a sports drink.
- Refuel after your workouts. Elizabeth Quinn, About.com's Sports Medicine Guide, recommends combining protein with carbs within two hours after exercise to help your body repair and refuel. Many people find a fruit smoothie is a good post-exercise choice.
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