Eating to Support Exercise

By Tracy Gowler 6 years ago
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We are continuing the exercise theme this week with a discussion of the how to support exercise with food.

The reality is that most of us aren’t extreme enthusiasts and we don’t really need crazy diets to support the body for the way that we exercise but, we do need to fuel the body with good foods for sure.

Did you read my series of blogs on Paleo? 

Well, it is a really good way to support your body from a fuel perspective.  You can access those articles at the links below.

Why do you need the good foods? 

I mentioned above that fuel is needed.  We need energy, so our cells need to be nourished.  To ensure that your body is nourished you have to keep your gut healthy.  I know, I keep coming back to that over and over don’t I.    It’s true though.  So much of our health, the nutrients we absorb, the way we feel is dependent on how healthy our guts are.  Truth.  And, you keep your gut healthy by supporting it with the foods that your body needs.   Clean, nutrient dense, whole foods.  Paleo is a great start for that.

Carbs supply the body with energy but not the bad carbs.  Healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, carrots, turnip, etc.  You need healthy carbs at every meal and specifically prior to exercise.  Fruits can supply quick energy but don’t just rely on the fruit as the sugar isn’t always your best choice and is short lived energy.

Protein is a macronutrient which is different than vitamins and minerals.  Vitamins and minerals are needed in smaller quantities.  The body requires a larger quantity of protein to reap the benefit.  Protein supports the building and repair of tissue.  It is used to support the thyroid which has responsibility for hormone production.  And it is needed as a building block for bones, cartilage, and muscles.  Protein elevates the amino acids in your blood.  This stimulates the muscle protein synthesis and anabolism, meaning muscle building.

And guess what, we don’t store protein, so we have to keep supplying the body. 

How much protein should you eat?  A good average is to shoot for ¼ of your plate at every meal.  If you are having shakes in the morning, 20grams of a clean protein powder is a good target.

One last thing on protein.  Make it clean as often as possible meaning free range, antibiotic free.  And if you are using a protein powder for your shakes, try to stay away from Whey proteins.  They are made from the leftovers of cheese production, so dairy.  Dairy causes inflammation in the body.  Just better to find a good, clean Vegan protein.  Or just include some meat with your shakes in the morning or a couple of boiled eggs.  That works too.

Lean muscle building can result in an increase of oxidative stresses in the body so taking Vitamin C after exercise, especially if you are working hard, is something that can help reduce those oxidative stresses.  There is some debate about this however, vitamin C can’t hurt you.  We eliminate what we don’t need.

If you choose to supplement after exercise, make sure you are using a good quality vitamin C.  You can’t usually find that at the grocery store or your local pharmacy however.  “NOW” supplements are at Wholefoods and if you can find them, they are a good option.  Take note, vitamin C is also used to relieve constipation so start with a low dose and work up to the recommendation for the day.  Just to make sure you don’t have too many issues with it.  Too many visits to the bathroom if you know what I mean.

And lastly, fluids meaning water.

Please don’t use the sports drinks.  They are full of sugar.  Water or an infused water that you can make at home by adding fruits and veggies is perfect for hydration.  Hydration is so important since we are 2/3 water.  And you will lose water while you exercise even without sweating.  It also reduces fatigue and recovery time and it lubricates your joints.  If you are a morning exerciser, remember, you have been fasting all night while you are sleeping, and water is crucial before you head off to exercise.  And something small to eat to support you and get your digestive system functioning properly is also recommended.

If you exercise hard and feel you need to restore your electrolytes, you could try a mixture of ½ water, ½ orange juice with a little bit of salt.  So much healthier for you than the sports drinks.

As always, I love to hear more from the community.  You can always reach out with your questions or comments to

Have a great week.

  Eat Healthy, Exercise, Health, Healthy Lifestyle, Tracy's Corner
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 Tracy Gowler

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