Food for Fuel
Whether you’re headed to that 6 a.m. spin class or your daily post-work run, you know your body needs proper fuel to power through your workout. Skipping a balanced meal or snack before exercising can leave you feeling nauseated, lightheaded, or lethargic. But what exactly should you be eating before a workout, and when?
The simple answer is this: Consume a mix of carbohydrates and protein anywhere from one to three hours before hitting the gym. Carbohydrates are an excellent source of energy and will improve your performance, while protein works to build and repair muscle. Classic carb and protein combinations to try include:
- Banana and a spoonful of peanut butter
- Greek yogurt topped with berries and granola
- Fruit smoothie (may include yogurt, nut butter, spinach)
- Oatmeal topped with blueberries
- Hard-boiled egg and toast
If you only have 30 minutes, stick to something simple, like a piece of fruit or a granola bar. Try to avoid spicy foods, generous portions of fiber and fat, and sugar bombs (like fruit juice) right before exercising. Fat is digested more slowly than carbs and protein, leaving you feeling sluggish, while too much fiber can cause an upset stomach – the last thing you want during Zumba class.
If the Shoe Fits
Marilyn Monroe once said, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” Well, the right shoes have to have the right fit – here are three signs you might need to make a switch.
You’re developing blisters, calluses, or bruises. If you’ve noticed any of these formations on your feet, it’s likely a sign that your shoes are too narrow or tight. Over time, that pressure can cause your skin to harden and affect your joints. Consider getting your shoes stretched, or opt for a larger pair.
You’re experiencing aching arches. Arch pain can be indicative of several issues, including flat footedness and injury. But shoes that are too big, or lack the proper support, can also put excessive strain on your arches – which may eventually lead to plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the plantar fascia, fibrous tissue located along the bottom surface of the foot). So if you’re straining with every step, it’s time to find a different shoe.
Your toes touch the tip of your shoes. Feet swell throughout the day, which can make some shoes too snug by evening. As a general rule, there should be space (between 3/8” and 1/2”) from your longest toe to the tip of your shoes when standing. Always go shoe shopping late in the day for the best fit!