Many of us workout to gain better cardiovascular fitness, prevent disease and maintain a healthy weight. In addition to exercise, nutrition plays a critical role in health and weight management. Whether you’re trying to put on muscle mass, maintain your current weight, or lose body fat, taking an active approach to your diet will allow you to achieve your ideal body composition. Keeping a journal for a few days is an excellent way to know if your diet is meeting your nutritional needs and providing you with the energy (calories) you need each day to reach you weight goals. Consider consulting with a Registered Dietician (not a Nutritionist) to prescribe the diet that’s right for you or try an app like my fitness pal to track your diet.

Using pre and post fueling can help you reach you weight goals:

 Weight gain: Have breakfast early, then add an easy-to-digest source of energy before and after workouts to replenish and add extra calories to your diet. Have another snack a few hours later, before you next meal.

 Weight Loss: Time workouts and meal times. Example: use your scheduled meal (breakfast) as a pre-or post-workout fueling, rather than having additional calories before and after.

Weight management is all about math! 3500 calories = 1 pound Add or subtract 3500 calories to gain or lose 1 pound. Experts recommend a 250-500 calorie diet change per day (1/2 -1 pound per week). Additionally, calculate the amount of energy you spend running to arrive at your target calorie intake:

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Liquid calories are an effective way to increase calories with less stomach upset than solid choices. Healthy sources include juices, fruit smoothies, milk, and yogurt shakes. Conversely, if your goal is weight loss, choose water to drink throughout the day, and limit your intake of calorie-rich drinks. Choose whole fruits instead of fruit juice; have smoothies and shakes as meal substitutes or as special treats. Regardless of your weight goals, limit high-sugar, low nutrient drinks throughout the day. Athletes caveat: DO drink a sports drink when exercising more than 60 minutes to replace electrolytes lost in sweat and to ensure your muscles have enough energy to effectively complete the workout!

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