March is National Nutrition Month

Eating healthy is important all year long. A healthy diet provides your body with the energy it needs, while keeping your mind and body fit. If you haven’t done so already, National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to evaluate and improve your diet.

The right nutrition is a crucial part of any exercise program. A well-balanced diet helps fuel your workouts and reduces your chance of diet-related disease. Consuming certain foods and beverages prior to and after exercising helps maintain blood glucose levels, maximize performance, and improve recovery time.

Benefits of a Healthy Diet

 Most people already know that eating healthy can help them lose weight. However, the benefits do not stop there. A well balanced diet can help reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. When combined with the right exercise plan, a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat meats, and dairy can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Best Pre-Workout Meals

Consuming certain foods prior to working out helps maximize performance and reduce the chance of muscle damage. For the best results, consume a full meal containing both carbs and protein approximately two to three hours before your workout. Eating closer to your workout can lead to stomach discomfort, which can hinder performance.

  • Carbs – Eating carbohydrates before working out helps keep you energized. This is because muscles use the glucose from carbs as fuel. However, muscles can only store so much glucose. Consuming large amounts of carbohydrates for 1-7 days can help increase the amount of glucose your muscles can store.
  • Protein – Consuming protein before exercise helps improve performance, encourage muscle growth, increase strength and performance, and improve recovery time.

Post-Workout Snacks

It’s important that you give your body the fuel it needs after working out. The right post-workout snacks can restore your energy and speed up your recovery. Similar to your pre-workout meal, choose snacks containing carbohydrates and protein for the best results. Excellent choices include fresh fruit, raw nuts, energy bars, cheese sticks, and beef jerky. These snacks provide the nutrients you need and can be stashed easily in your gym bag.

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