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Ten Key Fitness Foods

Timeless Fitness Tips...

Burn fat and build muscle!

The following ten key fitness foods provide necessary energy nutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrate) as well as fiber, vitamins, and minerals to work with your body and exercise plan.

Ten Key Fitness Foods

1.  Water: For hydration of your body and skin. (More on water below.)

2.  Whole Grain Crackers: For fiber and carbohydrate.

3.  Sweet Potatoes: Good carbohydrate boost plus antioxidants.

4.  Beans (legumes): Low-fat, good source of protein, carbohydrate, and iron.

5.  Tomatoes: Contains cancer-fighting lycopene, which is very versatile.

6.  Skim milk yogurt: Great source of calcium and protein.

7.  Oranges: Loaded with vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber.

8.  Lean red meat/dark meat/poultry: Great for iron and zinc, low in fat.

9.  Broccoli: Packed with vitamins A and C, rich in fiber and potassium.

10.  Banana: Easy to carry and eat, quick carbohydrate source, loaded with potassium and about 70 percent water.

Know Your Water

We all know water is good for us; it contains no calories and is necessary for our bodies to function. Bottled water is selling at record pace as more than half of all Americans are trying to drink more. The importance of water has led to hype and endless sales pitches. Water from the tap and pricey bottled water from a store have the same health benefits and sometimes they are exactly the same thing! If you are buying water, research it. Find out where it comes from and what they do to it before it gets to you. Otherwise you're paying for nothing. Spring water is usually good.

Should You Eat Before Exercising?

Most of us have heard the general "rule" that we should not swim or exercise intensely for at least 15 minutes after eating - many prefer 30 minutes of wait time. Overall, this is good advice to follow.

However, exercising on a completely empty stomach isn't necessarily the best idea, either.

Many people start their day with a morning run, or a walk on a treadmill, and will do so before showering and eating. If this works for you, that's great! But food does give us energy and can be utilized as a boost to your workouts.

For example, for morning workouts, eating a bagel, cereal, toast or anything that consists mainly of carbohydrates is a good idea because carbohydrates give you needed fuel for your workout.

If you can, add some whole fruit and juice to your breakfast for an extra boost. If you do your workout during midday, a sandwich or pasta dish will fuel your body for exercise. If you need a little lift for late day exercise, try some crackers, bagel chips or fruit mid-to-late afternoon for a head start on your energy supply.

Depending on the size of your meal or snack, you should wait those 15 to 20 minutes to let your body digest the food. In doing so, you allow your body to burn calories more efficiently and will reduce risk of those side-ache effects that can be very uncomfortable.

Fit Fact

Researchers at the Natural Resources Defense Council discovered that 40 percent of the bottled water sold in the United States is tap water.