Good Nutrition: A Woman's Best Training Partner

Women who are physically active reap numerous health benefits, from lowering their risk for heart disease and breast cancer to boosting energy levels. But between work and family responsibilities, there’s often limited time to devote to fitness. That’s why it’s important to make every workout count. One way to do this: Focus on proper fuel for your body.

Choose Foods That Work For You

For most active women, eating a healthy, balanced diet will give you all the fuel you’ll need for workouts. As a general rule:

  • Aim for 45 to 65 percent of total calories from carbohydrates. This is the body’s main fuel source and can be found in fruits, vegetables, milk, and grains such as bread, pasta and rice. When choosing grains, go for whole grains.

  • Try to get 10 to 35 percent of calories from protein such as lean meat, fish, beans and poultry. Protein helps build and maintain muscles.

  • Limit calories from fat to less than 30 percent but at least 20 percent.

  • Fat is necessary to maintain certain body functions and provides energy. Choose healthy fats like olive oil and avocados.

Time Your Intake

How you schedule food intake also can make a difference. Try to:

  • Eat every three to four hours—three meals plus three to four snacks—to help maintain energy throughout the day

  • Have a snack one to three hours before exercise to provide muscle energy

Don't Overlook Fluids

Dehydration allows the body to heat up faster, making it more difficult to get through a workout. Here's how to keep your body well hydrated:

  • Drink about 20 ounces of water one to two hours before exercise. Then drink an additional 10 to 15 ounces within 15 to 30 minutes of the event.

  • Take frequent water breaks during exercise. If the workout will last longer than one hour, consider sipping a sports drink instead of water.

»NEED A NEW TRAINING GOAL?

Try the Leaves of Hope Run/Walk. It takes place—along with the Cancer Survivors Celebration—on the morning of Sunday, June 7. The event features a Survivors Breakfast, dog- and stroller-friendly 5K and 10K races, a 1-mile fun run/walk, a Health and Safety Expo, an inspiring keynote address and live entertainment with Chris Daniels and the Kings.