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Proper diet can help smooth an exercise routine
By Li Anian

If hitting the gym more often is part of your New Year’s resolution for 2015, take a few minutes to learn something about nutrition-related to everyday workouts. Zhang Jinjun, dietician in charge of the nutrition department at Putuo District Center Hospital, offered her suggestions regarding what gym goers should eat and drink.


Q: Immediately after a workout session, what should one eat and drink, and when?

A: If it’s not very intense and you didn’t sweat too much, it’s not necessary to replenish on purpose; just water would be sufficient. It’s not suggested to eat a lot after exercise, but wait for about 30 minutes and eat some vegetables and fruit that can help with acid discharge. Too much protein would slow down your body’s recovery unless your goal is to build muscles. In hot summer after vigorous exercise, drink some lightly salted water. 

Q: There are many sports drink products in stores that include various electrolyte and vitamins. From the nutritional point of view, who should not drink those casually?

A: There are many added ingredients in the sports drinks, like electrolytes, vitamins and amino acids. It also contains inorganic salts. Seniors, expectant mothers and people with chronic diseases are not recommended to drink sports drinks. It’s not necessary to drink the sports drink if the workout is not intense.

Q: Why is natural coconut water a popular alternative to sports drinks?

A: Because it’s rich in potassium, but it’s not very common in China right now.

Q: Many people prefer iced water and beverages to feel refreshed, but is it the right thing to do?

A: No, the water should be room temperature or warm. Because when you are working out, your body is in a high metabolism state. Ice water is a stimulus, especially for your stomach and intestines, and can cause blood vessels to contract.

Q: How should one replenish during a workout session? And what should people eat beforehand?

A: Because of the dehydration, one should constantly drink water during a workout — about 100-200ml every 15 minutes. Snacks like a small piece of chocolate or energy bar are also great. It’s recommended to eat one hour to two hours before a workout, and don’t get too full. Because when you are exercising, most blood will supply the muscles, leaving less for digestion. Banana is high in energy and rich in nutrition, and recommended before a workout instead of during.

Q: For those wishing to lose weight or build muscles, what are some dietary suggestions?

A: What you eat should match up with your exercises. If you intend to lose fat, adequately increase protein consumption in your diet and reduce carbohydrates. But it’s not recommended to have a carb-free diet. If you wish to build muscles, add more protein in your diet.

Q: How often should an adult exercise every week?

A: If you are new to the gym, depending on your body’s condition, once or twice every week with each session about an hour is suggested, and it can be morefrequent as time goes.

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