A Better Body in 2 Hours a Week: A Total-Body Workout
More Ways to Fuel Intense WorkoutsEat Like an Athlete
Whether you munch a cheeseburger, a bagel, an energy bar, or absolutely nothing before and after you exercise has a big impact on how your body will respond. And we're not only talking about indigestion.
Just because your routine is short doesn't mean you don't need to fuel up first. "Make the meal you eat before your workout substantial [300 to 500 calories], so you'll have enough energy to maintain the higher intensity," says Molly Kimball, RD, head of nutrition at Elmwood Fitness Center in New Orleans. She recommends at least a two-to-one ratio of complex carbs to protein (such as a whole-grain English muffin with a tablespoon of peanut butter and an apple, or a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with some baby carrots). If it's been a few hours since your last meal, have a snack before your workout for energy, but aim for something that's easy to digest (not too high in fiber or fat) with 100 to 200 calories, such as a cereal bar or a banana.
Eat a healthy mix of protein and carbs within 20 minutes after working out to help muscles recover, suggests Kimball. For example, drink a glass of low-fat chocolate milk or a fruit (strawberry, banana, or blueberry) smoothie with plain, low-fat yogurt. Even though your first thought might be "I just burned a ton of calories so now I can eat whatever I want," hold back, says Kimball. The last thing you should do is overindulge one day because you worked really hard and then fast the next (or vice versa) -- caloric consistency is key to maintaining your weight or dropping a few pounds.Rest Your Weary Bones
"Intervals and circuits are highly stressful on your body, so to prevent injury, each high-intensity day should be followed by at least one or two days of rest or light activity," says Holland. That's right -- rest. Hurrah! But, sorry, that doesn't mean just planting yourself on the sofa. To prevent soreness, take a leisurely 30-minute walk or an easy bike ride to get blood flowing, says Dolan. In addition, pay attention to your pains. "You have microtrauma in your tissue after a hard workout, which causes inflammation," says Dolan. Indulge in an occasional massage or roll out on a foam roller (find one for about $31 at optp.com) to speed recovery and help stretch the fascia -- thin tissue that covers your muscles and muscle fibers and tightens up during and after exercise.
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