You'll enjoy more of the benefits of physical activity if you also make healthy food choices. Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide recommends eating a balanced diet that is high in whole grains, vegetables, fruit and is low in fat.
Avoid the obvious, such as fried foods and fatty meats (i.e. pork, bacon, ham, salami, ribs and sausage). Choose lean sources of protein such as chicken. Switch to lower-fat versions of dairy products such as cheese, cottage cheese, milk and yogurt. Eat other high-fat products such as nuts, mayonnaise, margarine, butter and sauces in limited amounts. Think of yourself as a lean, mean, fat-burning machine....then become one!
Eating small meals more frequently (4-5 meals a day) rather than your regular 2-3 large meals a day will help you metabolize fat more efficiently, making you leaner and more energized throughout the day. Think of your metabolism as an engine: it needs fuel to keep running at its peak.
Frequent eating fuels your metabolism evenly throughout the day. Your energy levels will also stay high as you will be regulating your blood sugar and insulin levels throughout the day.
Hydration is another important factor to consider when becoming more active. When it comes to hydration, a drop of prevention is worth an ocean of cure. Drink water or other low-calorie fluids in small, steady quantities throughout each day, to the point when your urine flows almost clear. Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go, or take a drink every time you pass a water fountain at work or school. Staying well hydrated throughout the day benefits you in ways beyond your exercising. It helps keep you alert and will prevent that dull, headachy feeling that can slow you down in the middle of the day. It's also important to be hydrated when you start exercising so that you're performing at your peak.
During exercise drink between 5 and 12 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes. If you're exercising for less than an hour, you'll be fine drinking just water. After an hour you may need to switch to a sports drink to replace the electrolytes that you are losing in your sweat.
Sports drinks also contain carbohydrates, which are essential as you burn through carbohydrates while you exercise; they are the fuel your muscles are feeding from.