Exercise's relationship to diets

Diet and exercise work together. They work together toward a successful exercise endeavor by considering and controlling the type of food eaten before a specific type of exercise, how soon the food is eaten before the exercise and the quantity eaten. Teaching exercise as long as I have, I hope I have mastered the technique of balancing diet with exercise. It isn't always an easy path to walk, and it doesn't always turn out right. Many times I have wished I had more sense.

Because I teach at least 15 exercise classes a week, I am often asked what works for my diet during the workout week. I'm fairly well locked into a diet that only changes according to the number and type of classes I teach within a certain day. Weekend days are different. Here are some of my diet suggestions relating to my particular exercise schedule.

I spend a lot of time with oats, that being oatmeal first thing in the morning. It digests easily and doesn't sit in my stomach and growl when I teach morning classes. I also like iced tea for breakfast. In between classes, I snack. Yogurt, crackers, bananas or peanut butter are a few of my most-used food items. I know that peanut butter doesn't work well to exercise on due to the fat content; it doesn't digest readily. But I have a lifetime love of the stuff.

When I teach noon classes, I miss lunch, but before my evening classes, I am back in the kitchen snacking. At the end of the day, I have a normal dinner, and for me it contains at least three vegetables, small amounts of lean meat (any kind), cottage cheese, milk and at least two different types of fruit. I have fun combining foods, and I seldom use a recipe. If it looks good and smells good, it's usually good. Once a week, usually on the weekends, I will have eggs for breakfast, and sometimes toast. I drink decaffeinated teas and coffee and stay away from citrus juices when I'm going to exercise. I like to go out to dinner and have a glass of wine, but I don't do dessert.

So now you know my diet. It's what works for me. Keep in mind that as a fitness instructor, I burn lots of calories with each class, between 300 and 600 calories, depending on the level of energy expended. The amount of muscle mass you have will also add to the amount of calories you will need when exercising. It takes more fuel to feed muscle than fat.

n Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Carson City Senior Citizens Center.


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