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Interval Training & Nutrition

author image Rhonda Alexander, MS, MA, CFT
Based in Chicago, Rhonda Alexander has written health-related articles since 2006. Her work has appeared in publications owned by the Sun-Times Media. She holds two master's degrees from DePaul University in addition to certifications in personal training and fitness nutrition. Her first book, "Green Smoothie Bliss," will be released 2014.
Interval Training & Nutrition
Bootcamp fitness camp Photo Credit: Mike Powell/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Interval training combines several types of exercises with periodic bursts of activity alternating with rest periods or set periods where the intensity level is reduced from high to low. Interval training also involves the body alternating between aerobic -- using oxygen to complete activities, such as running, walking, dancing and spin class, among others -- and anaerobic -- not using oxygen to complete activities, such as jumping, power lifting and sprinting. Successful interval training also requires proper nutrition to ensure your body has enough glycogen to do what you ask of it.

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Nutrition for the Task at Hand

Woman drinking from water bottle
Woman drinking from water bottle Photo Credit: Eyecandy Images/Eyecandy Images/Getty Images

Interval training -- especially high intensity interval training (HIIT) -- uses stored glycogen as well as any carbs you ingest before your workout. Feed your body for the task at hand with proper timing of your nutrition.

Prepare your body for the upcoming training starting two to three hours prior. Have a light meal of foods that provide the energy you need for a successful workout. A blended drink containing low-fat or nonfat dairy and fruit is a good combination of foods with a high carb content and moderate protein that will fuel your interval workout; so is a bowl of cereal with low-fat milk.

Post-Workout Nutrition

Grilled chicken with penne pasta, broccoli and garlic sauce
Grilled chicken with penne pasta, broccoli and garlic sauce Photo Credit: PaulCowan/iStock/Getty Images

After you've depleted the fuel from your body with your interval workout, replenishing glycogen stores -- by way of carbohydrates and protein -- is crucial to your body's ability to recover. Within 30 minutes to two hours of completing interval training, eat a meal consisting of carbs and protein with a 4-to-1 balance of nutrients to replace those lost during interval training.

Don't forget to replenish lost fluids as well. Kill two birds with one stone: Make a smoothie with protein powder and fresh fruits. Fluids are replaced -- 24 ounces for each pound lost while exercising -- while carbs and protein are reloaded into your system.

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