Exercise Beginner Basics – What To Do And What Not To Do

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When to Eat Before, During and After Exercising

Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Proper nutrition is also vital to physical health and fitness. It has been discovered relatively recently that what you eat and drink effects as much as 60% to 75% of your level of fitness. So eating right is definitely something you need to do to complement your exercise routine.

That begs the question, when should you be eating in relationship to exercising? If you have ever tried to eat a bowl of soup while running a marathon, you understand the inherent difficulties of eating while exercising. While that is an extreme example of an improper eating/exercising relationship, there are better and worse times to eat if you are thinking about exercising.

Before You Exercise

Riska Platt, M.S., R.D., is a nutrition consultant for the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. She points out that “there are no hard–fast rules” that need to be applied every time concerning nutrition and physical activity. However, she does recommend that “there are some things you should do before, during and after your workout.”

This includes fueling up 2 hours before any intense exercise.

That is the ideal situation. You need to drink water, and eat a meal with healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains or pasta, brown rice, vegetables and fruits. While protein is definitely required for building muscle, it should be avoided before your workout. Protein takes longer to digest, and could cause some discomfort while you exercise.

If you only have a few minutes before you exercise and you haven’t eaten for some time, you should still eat something. Try a banana, apple or some other “easy to digest” fruit or vegetable to provide healthy carbohydrates if you only have 5 or 10 minutes before you workout.

While You Exercise

You should drink water throughout your exercise, no matter how intense. Taking frequent, small sips of water keeps you hydrated and performing to the best of your ability. You don’t need to eat while you exercise, unless your workout takes longer than an hour. An energy bar, banana or raisins can be consumed during vigorous workouts of longer duration, and you should aim for 50 to 100 cal for every half hour of exercise.

After You Exercise

When your vehicle’s gas tank is empty, you are going nowhere. The same is true with your body. You need to re-fuel your tank after exercise. Drink lots of water after your workout is over. You also need plenty of carbohydrates and proteins.
These 2 nutrition essentials help your recovery period, which is when your body grows stronger and builds more muscle mass.

Between 30 and 60 minutes after exercise, eat a meal rich in protein and carbohydrates.

Proper nutrition and exercise can lead to a long, healthy and happy life. Just remember that these general guidelines may need to be tweaked for the unique way your body works. Use the exercise eating tips above, adjusting them as needed for the best results in your life.

How to Warm Up and Cool Down When Exercising

If you have been exposed to exercise on any level, you have probably been told you should warm up and cool down for the best results. It is usually recommended that you warm up your body before you begin any type of intense exercise. The same is true for cooling down after your workout is over.

Richard Stein, M.D., is a Professor of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine at New York University. On this subject he states, “… warming up and cooling down are good for your exercise performance, and for your heart since the increased work on the heart ‘steps up’ with exercise.”

Casual and serious athletes and fitness aficionados report feeling better after exercise when they warm-up and cool down. This can also decrease muscle aches and pains, and improve flexibility. The question is, what are the best ways to warm up and cool down when exercising?

Warming Up – What Does That Really Mean?

Warming up before exercise refers to elevating your body temperature. You do this by running in place, taking a jog, or performing some quick body weight exercises. The idea is the same as warming up your car before you drive. Your car works better when the engine is warm, and all its fluids are circulating properly.

Your body works the same way. You increase the flexibility and temperature of your muscles, leading to a safer and more efficient workout, when you warm up first. You only need to warm up for 5 or 10 minutes before most exercise. You can do this by performing the same activity you are about to, but at a slower pace.

How to Cool Down Properly

Letting your body gradually return to its resting state after exercise is equally as important as warming up. Your heart is still pumping at a higher rate than normal, sometimes long after your physical activity is finished. Your blood vessels are dilated and your body temperature is above average as well.

This is why you can sometimes experience nausea or sickness if you stop exercising abruptly. You will see Olympic sprinters slow down from a running speed to walking after they cross the finish line. They raise their hands above their heads to improve their ability to absorb oxygen, and continue to walk for an extended period of time before they rest.

It’s a good idea to stretch as a part of the cooling down process. This is because your joints and muscles are still warm. Slowly stretching them after your workout is over reduces the presence and buildup of lactic acid. That is the compound which can cause muscle cramps and stiffness. Walking for 5 minutes is recommended as a cooling down strategy, and when you stretch, hold each position for 15 to 30 seconds.

Warming up and cooling down are necessary parts of any exercise program. Whether you are just beginning on your path to physical fitness, or you are a seasoned veteran, be sure to warm up and cool down to minimize injury and maximize your performance.

The Best Workout for Absolute Beginners

A recent web search for the term “best beginner exercises” on Bing returned 34.2 million results. The same search on Google was a little more targeted, delivering 12.4 million web pages. This presents a large problem. If you are searching for the best workout for beginners, you probably don’t have time to sift through millions and millions of web pages.

No worries, we have done the work for you.

Our research has uncovered one exercise program which gets you started on a smart path to physical fitness, without frustrating you by its level of difficulty. It is also free, you already own the equipment you need, and it can be performed anywhere and at any time. Give the following workout program a go if you are just beginning to exercise.

Body Weight Training

This exercise form used to be called calisthenics. It involves jumping jacks, planks, sit-ups, lunges, squats, chin-ups and pull-ups, and other forms of physical exertion that require nothing more than your body weight. Body weight training is great for beginners for several very important reasons.

First off, there are dozens of body weight exercises which are easy to perform. So they are perfect for the beginner. They can also be customized to your unique physical needs. Whether you are rehabbing from an injury, attempting exercise for the first time in your life, or returning to physical fitness after years of absence, you can create a body weight training plan that is perfect for your situation.

Secondly, body weight exercises can be performed anywhere. Beginners to exercise are often times intimidated by the gym. All the muscle-bound, fit and trim people you encounter at gymnasiums and health clubs can make you feel self-conscious. This sometimes leads to skipping your workout, and eventually giving up on exercise altogether. Everywhere you go, your body goes with you, meaning body weight training is possible anywhere, at any time.

Also, a body weight workout routine can change as your level of physical fitness changes. The most accomplished athletes on the planet use body weight exercises to stay toned, muscular and healthy. However, beginners can perform these exercises as well. Whatever stage you are on your path to physical fitness, body weight training is perfect.

Another great benefit of body weight training over other forms of exercise is cost. If you like, you can purchase resistance bands, dumbbells and other forms of fitness equipment to accentuate your body weight exercises. However, this is not required. Gravity plus the weight of your body is all you need to get in fantastic shape, just one of many reasons beginners should focus on body weight training as their first step to physical fitness.

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