The Best Foods to Eat for Exercise Performance and Recovery

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Well it’s official everyone, only ten more days till spring! If you are like myself and live in New England you have experienced first hand how mother nature can be fickle. Yesterday was sunny and above normal temps, urging us to shed our outer layers and head outside for some activity.  While there are no guarantees that colder days are behind us I am ready to start my spring running and kick my cabin fever to the curb.
Although I’d rather get my workout done first thing in the morning, I sometimes have to be flexible and train when my schedule allows it. What I eat before my run depends on the time of day and whether I am doing a short intense workout or one of longer duration. I have never been able to handle having too much in stomach for an early run so I will opt for a banana or maybe a handful of walnuts washed down with some H2o. The carbs in the banana breaks down fast for energy while the nuts can help with endurance and reduce inflammation.  A good rule of thumb is to eat lightly so not to feel weighed down or ill. You may have to experiment with a combination of foods to see what works best for you.
When I have time to plan I find that oatmeal (not the instant packet type) with almond or soymilk eaten at least one hour prior to a run digests well and gives me sustained energy. Be careful when consuming  energy bars, shots, and gels, which have their place when training for events or endurance runs of 90 or more minutes.  Most people do not need the added sugars, protein or chemicals that they provide. Replenishing your glycogen stores after your run is also as important so try to eat a combination of protein and carbs within 30 minutes of your workout.  A good A.M. option could be 6 oz of plain greek yogurt topped with blueberries (fiber, carbs and antioxidants), 1 tsp of raw honey and a sprinkle of oats.  If your an afternoon or early evening runner try baby carrots and hummus for a post run snack. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water especially if you run in high temp’s. You need to replace the water you lost in perspiration and then some.

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