Coordinating exercise and eating can help you get the most out of your workouts. Using a few simple tips about eating and drinking can boost you toward your best exercise performance. Tailor what you eat and drink to the intensity and length of your session. Listen to your body as you try out these guidelines. You’ll be on your way to a food and exercise combination that maximizes your workout effectiveness.

Have breakfast at least one hour before you head to the gym if you schedule a morning workout. Fueling up will raise your blood sugar, give you energy and banish the blahs in the early a.m. hours. If you’re planning to exercise later in the day, work around meals. Wait two or three hours after small meals and at least three to four hours after large ones. Eat too much and you’ll be rewarded with sluggishness.

Snacks that prevent hunger pains are okay one hour before your workout. There’s no rule that says you must snack, however. Listen to what your body tells you it wants. Your muscles will recover faster from intense exercise I you eat within two hours after your session. Focus on a meal that’s loaded with carbohydrates and proteins.

Drink up:

Drinking enough fluids before, during and after exercise will stave off dehydration.

Breakfast Options:

Breakfast should include whole-grain cereals or bread, bananas and yogurt. Boost your energy with carbohydrates, and enjoy a cup of coffee if you are a java head.

Snack Options:

Good snack choices are yogurt, peanut butter sandwiches, low-fat granola bars and energy bars.

Post-Workout Options:

Meal choices range from yogurt and fruit to peanut butter sandwiches, chicken with brown rice, and pasta with meatballs.

Drink Options:

Drink two to three cups of water before you start working out. Follow this with one-half cup to one cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout. Check how much weight you lost after you finish exercise, and then replenish lost fluids with two to three cups.

Again, paying attention to your body is the best guide to maximizing workout effectiveness with an eating strategy.