Fuel Your Workout With Healthy Grains

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 9,542
    Pam O’Brien, Executive Editor of FITNESS Magazine with the help of the Grain Foods Foundation, discusses how to fuel your workout to stay energized.

    Pam O'Brien: Hi! I am Pam O'Brien, Executive Editor of Fitness Magazine. Today I am going to discuss how to feel your workout with grains.

    Whether you workout in the morning or evening you should grab a healthy bite before you hit the gym. A snack before you workout helps give you energy and stamina to go the distance.

    But did you know that eating a snack that contains grains and protein after you workout is just as important and may be even more so, Dr. Glenn Gaesser with the Grain Food Foundation explains why.

    Dr. Glenn Gaesser: Carb intake is key for a healthy weight. And according to the Institute of Medicine, people should consume 45 to 65% other daily calories from carbohydrates. In addition to fueling you up for the physical activity you need to maintain a healthy weight.

    A higher carb intake has been associated with better weight control. In fact, a study published in the journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shows that those who consume a medium to high percentage of carbohydrates in their diet have a reduced risk of obesity.

    This study shows that people following a low carbohydrate diet had a higher risk of being overweight or obese. All of the relevant scientific literature shows that people who consume a moderate to high level of carbohydrates in their diet are slimmer than people who avoid carbohydrates.

    Another reason why carb intake is crucial for active people is because if your body's glycogen stores get to low during a workout, your body turns to your protein store such as muscle for energy and this inhibits building valuable muscle tissue.

    Considering this with a fact that not enough carbs can make your blood sugar level drop during exercise, it's important to plan ahead.

    Pam O'Brien: You want to include a mix of grains and protein to fuel up. Here is what to eat to get the most out of your next sweat session. Don't workout on an empty stomach, you won't have the energy to exercise as long or as hard so you will end up burning fewer calories then you would if you power yourself up with a 150 or 200 calorie snack. Eat something that's quick and easy for your body to digest and that has plenty of fueling carbs, like some yoghurt with a handful of whole grain cereal 30 minutes to an hour before your workout. After your workout it's important to feed your body to help prepare muscle tissues and replenish glycogen stores which are depleted after a strenuous exercise session. Ideally, reach for a snack that combines carbs and protein to aid recovery.

    If your next meal is a couple of hours away, be sure your snack is under 200 calories. Try an oat mean energy bar with at least 3 grams of filling fiber or half a bagel with peanut butter.

    If your next meal is three or more hours away, eat a more substantial snack like half a sandwich. If you choose your filling wisely you will actually build muscle while you eat that sandwich.

    Research shows that carbs and protein together produce a better response to post workout recovery. Four ounces of water-packed tuna on a slide of whole wheat bread is an ideal protein and carb combo.

    Remember too to always drink plenty of water before, during and after you workout. And that's how to fuel up to get the most out of your workout.