If you participate in any form of fitness training or exercise, your diet is crucial to your success. You need to eat specific types of food to provide you with energy for exercise and to aid your recovery so your body repairs itself effectively and your fitness improves. Your diet also includes the liquids you consume, and you should ensure that you drink a sufficient amount to fluid lost through perspiration. Your diet also needs to include vitamins and minerals for your body to function optimally.


Food provides your muscles with the energy they need to complete your workouts. You need to eat before training to provide your muscles with an energy source. This is the case for both strength training and cardiovascular exercise. Carbohydrates are stored in your muscles as glycogen. If you are doing cardio exercise such as running or cycling, your muscles will utilize glycogen for energy. You should eat some carbohydrate before you exercise to provide your muscles with the fuel they need.


A balanced nutrition program needs to include the correct food types in the right proportion to fuel training and aid recovery from exercise. In addition to carbohydrates, a fitness diet should include fats, protein, minerals, vitamins and effective hydration. In her book, “Food Bible, The Complete A – Z Guide to Healthy Life,” Dr. Gillian McKeith says minerals are best provided in what you eat, but supplementation may also be beneficial.


Eating in specific ways can help you to improve your performance in training. For example, if you are training for endurance, carbohydrate-loading can help you to fuel your body for long periods. In “Marathon Runners Handbook,” running coach Bruce Fordyce says that in the two to three days before a long run, a marathoner can store more energy in her muscles by altering her diet to include 90 percent carbohydrate with only a little protein and fat consumed.


A diet that includes carbohydrates, proteins and fats will enable your body to function properly. By adding essential vitamins and trace elements to your diet, you will maintain your general health and reduce your risk of developing illnesses like coronary heart disease. In addition to allowing you to train and perform optimally, a fitness diet will also benefit your health.

Expert Insight

According to nutritionist Patrick Holford in his book “Optimum Nutrition Made Easy,” eating the highest-quality food in the right quantities helps you to achieve your highest potential for health, vitality and freedom from disease. He also says that your nutritional needs are unlikely to be identical to another individual’s. The food and supplements you require depend on the type of training you do. For example, endurance cyclists need more carbohydrates than a bodybuilder, who will need to supplement his diet with additional protein.

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