Monday, January 31, 2011

Fuel Your Muscles

Before tying your shoes for a run or buckling your helmet to bike, make sure to fuel muscles with nutritional foods at least 30 minutes prior to your workout.  A few suggestions of pre-workout foods would include:  bowl of yogurt with granola, couple of eggs, meal replacement shake, and piece of fruit or have some toast with peanut butter.  Picking any of these things depending on your taste buds will help fill and fuel your muscles prior to activity.
During your workout water and sports drinks become your friend and play a vital role in muscle replenishment.  Water is important to hydrating your body and keeping your muscles filled with plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.  Sports drinks assist in replacing the sugars or glucose that your muscles burn throughout a workout.  This sugar feeds your muscles throughout your workout to prevent fatigue. 

You’re probably thinking that you should stay away from sugar because in the health world the ‘S’ word is a sign of increased calories and fats.  Think again.  Sports drinks contain the right amount of particular good sugars that muscles need to perform.  Here is a suggestion, fill half of a water bottle with a sports drink and the remaining half with water.  This mixture gets the muscles the amount of sugar and water they need to prevent the feel of fatigue and will help you get thru that last mile or two.  So, as you can see sugar IS good for the muscles (in moderation)!

Finally your workout is complete and the feeling of fatigue and hunger may be settling in within the next 30 minutes.  At this time a healthy nutritious meal and loads of water will replenish your muscles to make your muscles happy and full and be ready for the next day's workout.    

By Kara Nichols, ATC, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan

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