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The link between eating and exercise

When starting a new exercise regimen, it is vital to give your body the right fuel. You will need the energy to keep going and you won't want to undo all your hard work by eating the wrong things.

Here are some tips for feeding your body for fitness:

Choosing a routine

What time of day you exercise will determine whether you eat before or after. Don't eat before a 6 am class, as you'll still be fuelled from dinner the night before.

If you train during the day/evening, eat a light snack an hour before - such as a banana or yoghurt. If you're having a main meal, eat no less than two hours before exercising. The body will prioritize digestion over most things, so if you're still full won't get the most out of your session.

What you eat after exercise is more important than what you eat before. Three key macronutrients should always be included - carbs, fats, and proteins. Aim to eat within a couple of hours of exercise to restore glycogen levels faster.


We drink at least two liters of water a day but that should rise to three when exercising. Drink water an hour beforehand and hydrate while exercising to help replace fluids lost when sweating.

Plan ahead

If you're eating out, research the menu beforehand. This will avoid you being overwhelmed with choices and making healthy decisions. Learn what works for you and the healthier options you enjoy most.

How to control emotional eating

"Emotional eating is a response to a feeling rather than that of true hunger," says UK-based nutritionist Holly Zoccolan.

"Most people are unable to differentiate between physical hunger and emotional hunger and therefore have weight issues."

Zoccolan recommends starting a food diary. "Write down when you are starting to crave sugary foods or reaching for snacks when you aren't actually hungry," she says.

"Ask yourself, 'How am I feeling?' Write down the answer to this question. Take a moment and deal with the emotion at hand."

Make sure you have healthy snacks around and avoid keeping trigger foods in the house if you can't control your eating once you open a particular treat. If you feel the urge to binge, try distracting yourself - cravings usually pass within 20 minutes.

"If you find yourself bored, why not treat yourself to a relaxing long hot bath, a face mask, a lit candle, or some relaxing music instead of a food treat," Zoccolan adds.


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