Expert Answers: Fueling Your Fitness Routine

Last updated: May 2021

Everyone knows how important exercise can be. Nutrition plays a major role in maintaining a regular fitness routine, but you have to be careful not to overeat to fuel your routine or replace healthy eating with exercising more. So we asked our experts Kelly and Meryl to share some advice for the following question from one our community members:

I’m trying to maintain an exercise routine. Do you have special recommendations for how I should make sure I meet my nutritional needs now that I’m working out more?

Response from Kelly

KellyDabelProfilePicExercise is a great way to stay healthy, lose weight, control blood sugar and feel energized. Don't fall into the mindset that you suddenly have to start eating lots of extra food to fuel your new exercise routine. Yes, it's true that we need to fuel our bodies before a workout but if you're already eating a healthy diet, it doesn't take much. A good rule of thumb is to have a light snack, consisting of some carbohydrate and some lean protein, about 30 minutes before exercising. A half of a banana with a handful of almonds or a small apple and light string cheese are great options.

For post-workout, if you don’t have a meal planned in the next hour, try a similar snack. Be sure to check your blood sugar after exercising and, until your routine is established check it again 2 hours after exercise, as levels may continue to drop post-workout. Be sure to stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.

Find a friend or family member to exercise with so that you can both be held accountable to keeping up with your new routine. Also, look into joining a class at your local gym or community center that is appropriate for your exercise needs and ability. Committing to a class or setting a walking date with a friend and marking it on your calendar can help you meet your fitness goals and keep it fun.

Response from Meryl

MerylKrochmalProfilePicIf you are exercising make sure to keep yourself well hydrated. If you become dehydrated it can make you feel worn down which will make exercising a lot more challenging! If you take insulin you will likely need to eat some replacement carbs before exercising to prevent having a low blood sugar during or after your exercise. Starting off with 15 grams of carb per hour of exercise is usually a good starting point (1/2 turkey sandwich, small granola bar, 4-6 crackers with peanut butter).

What do you eat to fuel your fitness routine? How do you manage to test your blood sugar after working out? Let us know!

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