It’s no secret that nutrition is just as important as fitness for your health. Whether you're a fitness fanatic, just starting an exercise routine or getting back on the bandwagon, it 's important to make sure you're fueling up with the nutrients that your body needs to stay energized and properly nourished. Here are five key ingredients to help support your active lifestyle.
It is essential to stay properly hydrated before, during and after sweat sessions. If drinking plain water is difficult for you, try a flavored coconut water or add a vitamin-enhanced, flavored powder to your water bottle. I also like Essentia water, as it doesn’t create a heavy, “full of water” feeling, supplies electrolytes and has a 9.5 pH balance.
Sweating can cause a lot of fluid loss, which can throw off the body's electrolyte balance. If you'll be working up a considerable sweat, or exercising outdoors in the heat, mix an electrolyte supplement such as Trace Minerals Research Electrolyte Stamina Packs into your water.
Protein is considered one of the building blocks of life and provides your body with the amino acids it needs to build and repair muscle. Your diet should include a healthy amount of protein from foods such as lean meats, dairy products and plant sources (such as nuts). You can also supplement with protein powders. I personally prefer protein shakes because they're easy to make and ensure I am getting the precise amount of protein I need. My favorite is Designer Protein powder, which is low in sugar and chemicals and contains high-quality protein.
4. Whole Grains
Carbohydrates help fuel you through endurance training and can keep your general energy levels up. However, it’s important that you are eating the right kinds of carbs. Whole grains such as brown rice, spelt, quinoa,and even sweet potatoes are a better choice than foods made with white and processed flours. These types of carbs will simply spike your blood sugar and not fuel you at all.
While a solid, over-the-counter multi-vitamin can help fill in nutritional gaps in your diet, I highly recommend seeing an internist and having a blood test done to check all of your vitamin levels to make sure you're tailoring your vitamin regimen to your individual needs.
Article contributed by Aly Teich for Designer Protein. Aly is the Founder of The Sweat Life, an online resource for all things health, wellness and fitness in NYC and beyond. A native New Yorker with 10 years of experience in television and media, Aly switched her focus to health and wellness to start The Sweat Life.