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Eating and Exercising

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I want you to close your eyes and imagine a house. It’s a good house. It keeps you warm in the winter, cool in the summer and protects you while you sleep. Now, you want to take this good house and turn it into the house of your dreams! So, you hire a construction crew and describe what you want the final house to look and feel like, but you don’t give them any tools. Well, that is exactly what you are doing if you are exercising and not focusing on giving your body the best nutrition – or tools – possible to get the most out of your health and wellness plans.

The reason that you exercise is to break your body down. You actually tear and damage your muscles so they can be built up stronger. Signs of this damage are soreness, fatigue and increased appetite. If this is happening, congratulations – your body is working! However, if you don’t provide it with the best raw materials to rebuild, you may find yourself too sore to move, too tired to get out of bed and eating everything in sight.

The food you eat provides the building blocks and energy necessary to remodel your body. Make sure to incorporate:

CARBOHYDRATES – These are your energy source and need to be eaten before a workout to fuel your exercise and post-workout to replenish your energy stores. The majority of your carbohydrates should come from fruits and vegetables and the rest from starchier whole grains like brown rice, quinoa or 100 percent whole wheat bread. If you are looking at a plate, ½ of the plate should be vegetables and ¼ should be starchier carbohydrates.

PROTEINS – These are the building blocks for your muscles, and it is important to get some protein in post-workout to help rebuild your muscles. Protein comes from animal sources such as fish, eggs, dairy, chicken and beef. There are also some wonderful vegetarian sources of protein such as beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Many vegetables, such as avocados, peas and sweet potatoes, are a great source of protein as well. If you are looking at a plate ¼ of the plate should be a source of protein.

VITAMINS & MINERALS – This is your cleanup crew. They help release toxic buildup and aid in repair. If you are finding that you are extra sore, include foods containing extra magnesium such as almonds, spinach and oatmeal. If you find that you are feeling extra-fatigued, kick up your B vitamins with fish, poultry and whole grains.

Let’s face it … exercise is hard! Make the most of it by eating to support your workouts, and not sabotage them!

And remember, a few small steps can lead to big changes.

Article first appeared on unbottleyourtea.com/tara.

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