Water is generally the best way to replace lost fluids. But if you're exercising for more than 60 minutes, use a sports drink. Sports drinks can help maintain your body's electrolyte balance and give you a bit more energy because they contain carbohydrates.
Think about how much you eat before you work out. If you eat too much, you may feel sluggish. On the flip side, if you don't eat much before you exercise, you may not have the energy to keep feeling strong throughout your workout. To strike the right balance, eat a light snack before exercising. After a big meal, wait a few hours before hitting the gym.
To stay well-hydrated for exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (0.5 to 0.7 liters) of water during the two to three hours before your workout. Also, drink about 1/2 to 1 cup (0.12 to 0.23 liters) of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout. You may need more the larger your body is or the warmer the weather is. Finally, drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (0.5 to 0.7 liters) of water after your workout for every pound (0.5 kilogram) of weight you lose during the workout.
After your workout, eating a meal can help your muscles recover and replenish your energy stores. For maximum benefit, eat within two hours after you exercise. A whole-grain sandwich with peanut butter is a good choice. So is yogurt and fruit.
If you exercise in the morning, get up early enough to eat breakfast. That may mean eating at least an hour before your workout. Be well-fueled going into a workout. If you don't eat, you may feel sluggish or lightheaded when you exercise. If you plan to exercise within an hour after breakfast, eat a lighter breakfast or drink something such as a sports drink.
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