11 Nutrition Advices For Increased Cardio Workout Sessions

March 30, 2016

Finding the energy for a cardio workout during the week can be very difficult. With work and family responsibilities, you might feel too drained to actually get out for that run, hop on the elliptical or jump on a stair-climber.

With a few changes to your diet though, you will find yourself with a greater store of natural energy and the ability to squeeze in any cardio workout. Best of all, you’ll have the energy to maximize the benefits from your workout.

1. Get Added Iron from Plants

vegetables

There are a number of minerals and nutrients that help the body and mind feel more energized, alert and ready to perform. Among the most important is iron; yet a surprising number of people lack iron in their body naturally.

Taking iron supplement pills helps balance other iron deficiency-related issues, but won’t address energy. Boost your energy for cardio workouts by consuming more iron-rich plants.

Great examples of plant-based iron sources include beans, lentils, spinach and sesame seeds. Iron is critical in delivering oxygen to cells, meaning that boost in iron can improve cardio performance. Try combining iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich foods which help increase iron absorption.

2. Potassium and Smart Carbs

banana-in-plate

The banana consistently appears on cardio and stamina-related nutritional lists because of its powerful potassium punch.

Potassium plays an important role in helping prevent muscle cramps, making bananas an ideal snack before a run or other cardio workout to help you perform at a higher level for longer periods.

But the benefits of the banana don’t stop with potassium and fighting cramps.

Bananas are also a good source of smart carbs that provide your body with a boost of energy to give you the power you’ll need to sustain those long workouts.

A good pre-workout snack would be a banana sliced up in some Greek yogurt. In addition to potassium and carbs, you’ll get a healthy shot of protein from this snack.

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

tuna-salad

Keeping your entire body firing on all cylinders during any workout is vital to gaining the greatest possible benefit from your workout routine. This includes your metabolic process that breaks down food, converts it to energy and helps burn off fat.

Omega-3 fatty acids are the premium gasoline that power your metabolic process, and getting a healthy amount in your diet helps recharge you physically and mentally.

Two good options for omega-3 fatty acids include salmon and walnuts. For dinner, consider a simple baked salmon with salt, pepper and an olive oil drizzle. For a good midday snack or crunchy breakfast, munch on some walnuts or toss them into a bowl of oatmeal in the morning.

4. Avoid Caffeine

coffee-black

Everyone is familiar with the concept of a midday lull in energy or simply a foggy haze in the morning. Regardless of the time of day you prefer to workout, chances are that on occasion you are going to feel tired ahead of your run or other cardio routine.

The most common solution for many folks is to reach for caffeine in one form or another. The problem with caffeine is that it gives the body a false sense of energy.

Rather than providing a natural and sustainable boost to energy, caffeine is little more than a stimulant that wears off. When it wears off you’ll feel even more sluggish and your workout will suffer. Despite its health benefits, this means avoiding coffee and tea as well as worse options like energy drinks and soda.

5. Eat a Balanced Breakfast

fresh-cottage-cheese

Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day and for a variety of reasons. Chief among those reasons is that breakfast is your body’s first sustenance after several hours spent burning energy (albeit at lower levels) while you sleep without any replenishment.

Some people will mistakenly limit their breakfast to protein and carbs in search of quick energy boosts. In order to start your day right and set you on the path to a strong cardio performance later, mix in a variety of nutrient-packed items to power up your breakfast.

A good example would be a bowl of nonfat yogurt with fruit and nuts. The yogurt packs protein with the fruit and nuts adding antioxidants and healthy fats.

6. Grains and Seeds

musli

Oatmeal is the great equalizer at the breakfast table. Box after box of cereal on grocery store shelves will advertise its use of whole grains, but few of them are using those whole grains in a true form.

Instead, opt for whole grain oatmeal. Oatmeal provides a shot of fiber and healthy carbs to give you the energy you need to sustain a cardio session.

To spice up that bowl of oatmeal, double down on nutrients by adding in chia seeds and fruits. Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and all 20 amino acids your body needs, while fruits provide powerful antioxidants.

7. Complex Carbs

sweet-potato

Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for your body. When you consume breads, grains and other foods high in carbs your body takes that substance and breaks it down and burns it for fuel.

Now, certain carbs breakdown differently in the body and will impact your energy levels differently. Typically, simple carbs are broken down quickly and provide a short-term energy boost.

Complex carbs on the other hand, such as those in sweet potatoes, are broken down in a slower process and provide your body with energy for longer periods of time. Sweet potatoes can be prepared in a number of ways, but regardless of how you eat them they are a great food before and after cardio workouts for energy and replenishment.

8. Eat Real Food

organic-salad

The worst thing you can do for your body, whether you are preparing for a cardio workout or just your daily life, is to consume too many processed foods. When food is processed it begins losing vital nutrients that are replaced with empty calories and synthetic minerals that do the body little to no good.

Most people who switch from processed foods to more natural food experience a burst in energy and even weight loss.

Examples of good foods to ditch included processed chips, crackers from a box, juice concentrates and fruit bars. Instead, try eating more natural fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains.

9. Consume a Variety of Superfruits

fruit-basket

Switching up your diet to include more fruits and vegetables is a good thing, but limiting yourself to a few favorites can actually have a minimizing effect. When you limit yourself to a few choice fruits it is possible to hit a wall in terms of antioxidant and nutrient intake. The resulting wall leaves you feeling more run down.

Expand your pallet to include some of the superfruits of the world such as apples, stone fruits, berries and tomatoes.

Studies have shown that individuals who consume the same volume of produce with a wider variety have less oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress can lead to premature aging and disease.

10. If You Must Eat them, Choose the Right Energy Bars

energy-bars

Energy bars are a good and bad addition to any diet. There are so many energy bars available in the average grocery store that most consumers likely opt for the bar from a brand they are familiar with, the one that offers the fewest calories or the most protein per bar.

The problem is that some energy bars are overly processed and do more harm than good. When shopping for an energy bar, skip the bold claims and wonderful art on the front of the package and go straight to the ingredients list on the back.

If the ingredient list sounds more like a chemist’s shopping list and less like the produce section, that energy bar is not worth the money.

11. Don’t Skimp on Healthy Fats

fish-slice

Fat has gotten a bad image in the past decade as nothing more than a disaster for weight loss enthusiasts and health nuts. The truth is that fats break down into healthy fats and unhealthy fats.

Your body needs a certain amount of healthy fat in your diet in order to function at full capacity. Healthy fats help your body absorb broken down nutrients into the blood system, transporting them throughout the body.

One study found that individuals who ate salad with full-fat dressing absorbed more antioxidants than those eating salads with fat-free dressing. What does this mean? Antioxidants fight free radicals in the bloodstream and provide you with energy. However, antioxidants need to glob onto fat to be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *