Foods for Workouts: Cardio

by in Ask the Experts, Healthy Tips, April 13, 2011

people on treadmills

An all-around healthy diet is best for any exercise routine, but cardiovascular exercise requires a balance of special nutrients. If you get cardiovascular exercise regularly (and we all should) – here’s how to fuel up.

Cardio Basics
Cardio exercise like walking, running and biking require energy from both carbohydrates and fat. Carbohydrates are the body’s #1 go-to source, but healthy sources of fat also give ample doses of energy.

As exercise intensity changes (like due to an increase in speed or running uphill, for example), the body switches back and forth between carbs and fat to provide energy. Since you can’t completely control how and when the body needs what nutrient, it’s best to have adequate amounts of both as a regular part of the diet. Best choices for carbs are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and dairy. The healthiest types of fats come from foods like olive oil, avocado, nuts, peanut butter, eggs and salmon.

All foods are digested and metabolized differently, so you need to think about the best times to eat foods that will support your exercise schedule.

Before A Workout
Pre-workout meals should focus mostly on healthy carbs, but since carbs with high amounts of fiber take longer to digest, you want to be careful not to take in too much directly before exercise. Protein and fat also take longer to digest, so those should also be spaced further away from exercise.

If you have 3 to 4 hours before exercise…… Have a regular meal.

•    A salad with grilled chicken, vinaigrette dressing and whole wheat roll
•    Turkey & cheese or PB&J on whole-grain bread
•    Grilled salmon with brown rice and broccoli
•    Whole grain pasta with feta cheese and grilled veggies

If you have 60 minutes or less before exercise….. Have a low-fat (and relatively low-protein) snack.
•    Nonfat yogurt
•    A low-fat granola bar
•    A piece of fruit
•    A handful of pretzels

Note: always consider your personal tolerance – choose foods you digest comfortably.

After A Workout
The post-workout window is time for refueling energy stores and helping tired and worn out muscles recover. That means more healthy carbs plus a boost of protein. If it’s been more than 4 hours since your last meal, it’s time for another one. If not, try one of these snack options:
•    A glass of chocolate milk
•    Hummus with pita chips
•    (In a time crunch) A protein bar
•    Half of a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread

TELL US: What are your burning nutrition and exercise questions?

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

You Might Also Like:

More posts from .

Similar Posts

Can Butter Be Part of a Healthy Diet? (Seriously, Now.)

The old butter verses margarine controversy is back in the spotlight. With many folks favoring wholesome, natural foods, margarine has now taken a backseat to butter. But can this full fat delight be part of a healthy diet?

Comments (312)

  1. Percocet says:

    Buy Ambien…

    quickly colorful you prefer getting interface what more much other some or related bit related see users the like to This and songs listening you’re flair Zune to more a is The cool has but Marketplace I is ‘Mixview’ let that subjective features alb…

  2. Klonopin says:

    ambien…

    Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you….

  3. Adderall says:

    klonopin…

    pepole are pepole…

  4. percocet says:

    vicodin…

    This is some awosome IDEA! Wow Where do you come up with this stuff! Look im a long time reader of this blog and i am always amaized at your train of thought!…

  5. ativan says:

    ambien…

    pepole are pepole…

  6. Good day! I simply would like to give a huge thumbs up for the good data you have here on this post. I will likely be coming back to your blog for more soon.

  7. [...] Foods for Workouts: Cardio YogaTailor – Custom Online Yoga Videos. DVD-Quality Video downloads of Yoga Exercises for Health and Stress Relief Have you got what it takes? <b>Combine exercises </b> Take a dumbbell of your choice and do a bicep curl, followed by a shoulder press, a squat followed by a bicep curl or a lunge, followed by a shoulder press. Gary says that combining moves in this way gives you 30 to 40 different exercise options. [...]

  8. Donne Milano says:

    Great idea for a post.Thank you!

  9. [...] Love Affair by MarianFlat belly diet recipe10 lbs in 1 week Cabbage Soup Diet Recipe AKA Wonder SoupFoods for Workouts: Cardio .recentcomments a{display:inline !important;padding:0 !important;margin:0 !important;} [...]

  10. Cardio workouts are great for not only the body but the brain as well .The increase in dopamine improves moods and reduces risk taking in adults .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>