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Foods that fuel your workout

Whether you enjoy gearing up in your new or used sports equipment to play your favorite sport, taking a fitness class at your local gym or going for a run, experts say it's important to choose the right foods to eat both before and after any type of workout.

It makes sense to avoid eating too much before you exercise to avoid feeling full or cause an upset stomach.

"Even the best foods can come back to haunt you mid-workout if not allowed to properly digest," registered dietician and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Manuel Villacorta, told the Seattle Post Intelligencer. "It's best to eat 45 minutes to an hour before you work out - longer after heavy meals."

While skipping your pre-workout meal may sound like the best bet to some, experts say it's actually better to eat something in order to fuel your body and give you more energy. Choosing the right meal or snack is often a matter of personal preference.

For instance, those who like to exercise in the morning often choose to drink coffee before their work out session. According to the Huffington Post, studies have shown that the caffeine in a cup of Joe can help enhance one's physical endurance. However, beware of drinking too much too close to your workout. Stick to one cup and try to give your body at least a half hour to digest it before becoming active.

Other good pre-workout snacks include apples, tomato juice, raisins, leafy greens and bananas, according to the news source. Drinking water is important before, during and especially after any exercise session to avoid dehydration.

In addition to replenishing your fluids after a workout, experts say it's important to eat to help your muscles recover and replenish lost nutrients. High-protein foods, like Greek yogurt, cheese or eggs, are recommended for those who have lifted weights or done another type of resistance training, while carbohydrates help refuel the body. Aim to eat something within a half hour of finishing your session for the best results.

Certain foods are also recommended the day after a particularly strenuous workout. For instance, the Huffington Post reports tart cherry juice and ginger have both been found to aid in inflammation and swelling of the muscles.

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