When thinking about exercise nutrition, it’s easy to focus on what you eat or drink right before or after your workouts. But the rest of the day matters just as much.
“Diet is one of the little things that over time can make a big impact on both the health and performance of an athlete,” says Stein. “Like a car, putting in the best fuel will help lead to good performance.”
When it comes to diet, the same principles apply to moderate exercisers as to professional athletes. This includes eating high-quality carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; lean protein sources, such as lean cuts of meat, poultry, low-fat milk, and beans; and healthy fats from sources like nuts, olive oil, and avocados.
“This pattern will ensure they not only get the macronutrients they need for fuel and to support muscle mass,” says Stein, “but also micronutrients, or the vitamins and minerals.”