Nutrition tips for workouts

These top nutrition tips for better workouts can also help athletes get the most from training.

Athletes have quite a bit to think about. They're concerned with training, especially if they compete in their chosen sport. They know they have to work out effectively to get the most benefit from their training time.

In order to perform at your best, you have to provide your body with high-quality foods to provide the energy it needs. Beginning at breakfast, eat a balanced diet all day long. Some athletes will choose to eat mainly protein or carbohydrates, but your body needs a balanced combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins for it to be at its best.

If you haven't been so careful about what you eat while training, you may want to talk with a trainer or a sports nutritionist. They will be able to help you determine your caloric needs as well as prepare an eating plan for you.

Think about your day and when you plan to work out. What you eat before you work out will be determined by when you exercise. If you're used to working out first thing in the morning, you don't want a heavy meal to weigh you down. Fruit, toast and an egg may be all you want. However, if you work out later in the day, a meal with complex carbohydrates, easily digestible salads and a protein would be a good choice. Try several different meals until you find the one which provides you the energy you need and still allows you to have an effective workout.

About half an hour before your workout, if it is later in the day, you'll want to eat something and get plenty to drink. A good snack for longer routines (60 to 90 minutes) is trail mix which has nuts and dried fruit. If your workout won't be as long but will be intense, you may want to eat a banana, a few fig bars or energy bar. Short non-strenuous exercise may not require a snack at all.

No matter how hard you work out, it is important to stay hydrated. This includes before, during and after you exercise. Drinking 8 to 10 ounces of water every 15 minutes when you're exercising for a short period is a good place to start. If you're working out longer than 90 minutes, you'll want to drink the same size energy drink every 15 minutes to half an hour.

Be sure to eat within two hours of any exercise. This meal should include both protein and carbohydrates with four ounces of carbs to one ounce of protein. If you aren't sure you can eat a meal in that ratio, you may want to drink a sports drink with that ratio of carbs to protein.

As an athlete you want to know you're feeding your body the proper foods and in the correct amounts. To ensure you're getting proper nutrition as you work out, speak to a dietician or someone trained in sports nutrition. They will be able to give you the best nutrition advice.