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Fuel Your Summer Workout Naturally

The Summer heat is here!! Don't let that stop you from getting the MOST out of your exercise routine. Whether you are training for a race, starting a new workout class, or simply hoping to maintain your current program, it's important to FUEL and RECOVER appropriately. Check out these tips to help you beat the heat and get the most out of your workout...

1. Hydrate the right way:

When we exercise we lose water through our sweat, and with our sweat we lose essential electrolytes. Maintaining hydration and electrolyte balance allows our bodies to function properly, fight fatigue, and improve exercise performance. Drinking enough water before, during, and after exercise is key to proper hydration, but sometimes water itself isn't enough. If you are looking for a natural way to rehydrate and restore electrolytes after a sweaty Summer workout, consider adding coconut water to your routine.  Unsweetened coconut water (such as Vita Coco) will help replenish key nutrients like sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium typically lost through sweat. If coconut water isn't your thing, Nuun tabs are a great alternative. Aim for at least half your body weight in ounces of water or another hydrating liquid. 

2. A little snack can go a long way. 

Food is the number one fuel for any workout.  This doesn't necessarily mean that we need to sit down and have a full meal before going for a run. But having something carb-based about 30-60 minutes prior to exercise can give your body the readily available energy that it needs to fuel and improve your workout. This can be something small and simple like a banana, greek yogurt, KIND bar, RX bar, or smoothie. If it's been more than 3 hours since you've eaten prior to a workout, be sure to add a pre-workout snack.

3. Recovery is key.

While carbs are needed to fuel the body, protein is the key to muscle growth and recovery. Aim to have at least 15+ grams of protein within 1 hour of your workout. If you plan on having a meal after your workout that includes a protein source like chicken, eggs, dairy, lean beef, or fish, that's all you need!  These foods will also provide you with a natural source of BCAA's.  If you are someone who is constantly on the go, consider packing a snack in your gym bag like a protein shake, protein bar, or even high quality jerky. 

4. Less is more. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the abundance of workout supplements on the internet, you are not alone. Many (or most) performance enhancing supplements on the market are not only costly, but have little evidence backing their efficacy. Here are a few natural resources with proven health benefits... 

- Whole cherries or tart cherry juice - shown to improve muscle recovery and fight inflammation.

- Beets or beet root juice - shown to oxidize the blood allowing the lungs and muscles to function more efficiently. 

- Coffee and tea - Caffeine is shown to improve overall endurance, strength, and alertness. Coffee and tea are not only a natural source of energy, but they also provide antioxidants that can help improve immunity and fight disease. 

Consider adding a few of these into your daily routine.

5. Training for a long run? Here are a few natural options instead of GU...

- dried fruit (dates, figs, raisins)

This cherry-filled recipe is a great way to help reduce inflammation and enhance muscle recovery.  Add some greek yogurt, unsweetened soy milk, or protein powder for a perfect post-workout recovery option.

Hoping you all are all enjoying your Summer!

Don't forget to hydrate ;)

Healthfully Yours,

Chelsea Hoover, MS, RD, LDN


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