No one says it's easy but it is doable if you decide it's important.
Going to bed with lights out -- and putting all screens (TV, computers, cellphones) out of sight and sound -- as well as making it a habit to lie down and get up at the same time will facilitate restful sleep. Your body recognizes and thrives on a natural rhythm. Creating a routine for your body will go a long way toward making the most of this rejuvenating downtime.
This is a meal that falls within three hours before you exercise.
Eating the right kinds of foods in the right amounts before activity will assure your energy tank is full. When you weight-train with little attention to diet, you are apt to run low on glycogen, which is your immediate energy source, and force your body to go to the muscle for its energy, which won't do you any favors. In fact, the workout will be much more difficult, and you won't get as much out of it. An optimum meal before exercise will prevent muscle breakdown and replenish energy.
Digestion, of course, plays a key role, considering you are preparing for intense exercise. Activity and a full belly are never a great combination, so allow adequate time for digestion to take place. Fat takes six to eight hours, protein takes three or four hours and carbs two to three hours to digest, depending on the source. But you don't have fully digest food before you work out.
Pre-workout meals should contain a small amount fat, moderate amount of protein and complex or low glycemic carbs. In general, the more intense the exercise effort, the more carbs you'll need.
Predicting how quickly you digest will most likely require a trial-and-error period. Keeping a food log will help you find the best combination and the amount of time you should allow between the pre-workout meal and your activity.
Water will optimize your performance and ready you for activity.
If you're not sure how to gauge whether you are staying hydrated, check the toilet after urination. Urine should always plentiful and very pale yellow. If it is not, you need water.
Sports drinks are for extended periods of intense exercise -- marathoners, long tennis matches, etc. Otherwise, drink water.
In an hour of exercise, the body can lose more than a quart of water, depending on the intensity and the temperature, so it's essential you drink before, during and after physical activity.
If you're getting your adequate sleep, eating a good diet and still running on empty, chances are you need to focus on hydration.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified instructor/trainer since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to her at YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or email cindys...@aol.com. Look for Cindy's award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World," at www.cindysays.com, or contact the YMCA at 304-340-3527.