I have a secret for you.
For as long as I can remember, people have been looking for the magic food that can either improve their workout performance, help them lose weight, give them clear skin, or in the best case scenario, all of the above. Oh and it has to be inexpensive too. Well, what if I told you the search is over.
What is this magical thing I speak of? It’s water! Although it may not be a cure-all, it’s pretty close with all of its great benefits (and fits into the college student’s budget because it’s free). Water is important to our bodies and here’s why.
Why is water important?
Our body weight is 75% water! It plays amazingly diverse roles in our bodies. One of the most necessary functions water performs is bringing oxygen and nutrients to cells and taking waste away
1. Weight loss: Substituting sweetened beverages with water is a simple way to reduce the amount of empty calories in a person’s diet. Drinking water also helps you feel fuller, which prevents overeating.
2. Feeling energized: Dehydration will result in feeling sluggish and tired. Combat this by drinking water to wake yourself up!
3. Enhancing performance: During exercise you lose water primarily through sweat. Drink adequate amounts of water can prevent dizziness, muscle cramps, and fatigue.
4. Gastrointestinal health: Water helps food flow through the intestine and can help alleviate constipation.
How much water do I need?
It is recommended for a total daily beverage intake of 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women. Keep in mind that there’s no exact formula so the amount you need changes depending on exercise, temperature, and food intake. You also don’t need to drink this full amount of water because a lot of foods contain a high percentage of water.
Foods that have hidden sources of water:
- Broccoli is 89% water and it is loaded with B vitamin, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and lots of fiber to help you feel full.
- Crisp lettuce is 96% water and a great source of potassium and folate. With the temperatures rising, a hearty salad will not only be tasty but refreshing as well.
- Watermelon is 91% water and a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and lycopene, which has been shown to prevent cancer.
- Low fat milk is 89% water and is high in vitamin D, phosphorus, potassium, and it can add protein to your diet. Grab some low fat chocolate milk as an easy post- workout treat.
- Apples are 84% water and is high in fiber, vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, among many other vitamins and minerals. It’s a portable snack that you can throw in your backpack and enjoy while you’re on the go.
Also, you can sip water throughout the day by bringing a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go! You can conveniently fill it up at any hydration stations located on campus.
Now that you know the secret about water, share it with those around you!
It’s one of those days. One of those days when I’m running on CoHo coffee and four hours of sleep. I have midterms to study for, papers to write, yet I’ve miraculously put on my running shoes for a much needed work out.
I pop in my Insanity DVD and feel great as I begin to start my warm up with a slow jog and leisure jumping jacks. Midway through my workout, I start regretting my decision to not eat anything before starting the video. As I hear Shaun T yelling at me to “dig deeeeeeper”, my arms feel like they’re going to give out. Why is it so hard for me to do a sit up? Have my legs always been this heavy?
If you’re like me, sometimes we overlook the importance of fueling our brains and bodies before exercising. We jump from one activity to the next, without realizing what a difference our performance would be if we grabbed something quick and simple to eat.
Here’s a quick guide on how to properly fuel before a workout:
What should I look for?
No matter what time of day you’re planning on exercising, there are some key points to keep in my mind when you’re fueling your brain and body for a work out.
- Eat primarily carbohydrates. This is your body’s main source of energy while working out!
- Aim to keep the amount of protein to be 12 grams or less
- Limit the amount of fat in your meal. Fat takes your body more time to digest so eating a high fat meal can leave your stomach feeling uncomfortable during exercise.
- Stay hydrated! Drinking simply 6 oz of fluid an hour before your workout can help you avoid feeling dehydrated, dizzy, and tired.
Leave adequate time for your body to digest. Generally, the longer you have until your work out, the more you can eat. This is because you’re giving your body a longer period of time to digest so you won’t need to worry about having an upset stomach while exercising. If you’re going to eat a larger meal, try to wait 2-3 hours before working out.
What are some examples?
- Oatmeal with blueberries and a dollop of greek yogurt
- Banana with half a whole wheat bagel
- Hard-boiled egg with a piece of whole wheat toast
- An apple with two tablespoons of peanut butter
- For the light eater, try 1/2 banana or 1/2 cup of cranberry juice
- A 200-300 calorie smoothie. This can be a great way to sneak in veggies too!
- An energy bar that has 12 or less grams of protein
- Toast topped with almond butter and half a banana sliced
- A handful of nuts or dried fruit
- A sandwich with whole grain bread, turkey, and vegetables. Eat it with a glass of skim milk.
- A wrap made with whole wheat tortilla, hummus, cucumbers, and tomatoes
- 6 oz. chicken breast with a side of broccoli
Ultimately, you need to find what works for you. When you do, you’ll feel more energized and get the most out of your workout!