summer nutrition tips**Today’s contributing writer: Mia Syn, MS, RDN. Mia is a registered dietitian nutritionist and national on-air nutrition expert. She will share with us five evidence-based tips for fueling your workout in time for long days at the beach and pool!

With summer on the horizon, many of us are hitting the gym a little bit harder in preparation for days at the beach and pool. Nutrition plays a big role in fueling for, and getting the most out of your workout. It can influence the number of calories you burn and how well your muscles recover. Here are five ways to fuel your workouts this summer:

1. Pre-workout nutrition: Carbs + Protein + CELSIUS

A proper pre-workout meal should include a balance of carbohydrates and protein. Larger meals should be eaten 3-4 hours before exercising while smaller meals and snacks can be eaten 1-3 hours before.

For an extra workout boost, pair your meal with a cup of caffeinated coffee, green tea or CELSIUS. Some research suggests that caffeine moderately increases heart rate and body temperature through thermogenesis, which increases the production of heat in the body leading to calorie burn.

CELSIUS is a, zero-calorie, caffeinated fitness drink that comes in delicious flavors like grapefruit, cucumber lime and pineapple coconut with no artificial flavors or preservatives. As a source of natural caffeine, it has the ability to help boost for your workout in lieu of coffee or a powdered pre-workout supplement.

Pre-workout meal examples:
• Snack: apple with peanut butter + green tea
• Meal: chicken with steamed vegetables and brown rice + CELSIUS

2. Post-workout nutrition: Carbs + Protein

After a workout, you’ll need proper nutrition to repair muscles, replenish your glycogen stores and restore electrolytes. The guidelines are the same as pre-workout nutrition with a greater focus on complex carbs like whole grains as opposed to simple carbs (fruit) since they don’t need them to break down as fast for energy.

Post-workout meal examples:
• Quinoa, steamed vegetables and baked trout
• Tuna sandwich on whole grain bread

3. Dietary fat is good but not right away

Fat is good but not before or directly after a workout. Fats slow down absorption of protein and carbs that your body needs to replenish your glycogen stores and repair muscles. Before a workout, too much of this macronutrient may cause digestive discomfort and cramping. Instead, incorporate healthy fats later in the day from foods like avocado, nuts, seeds and fatty fish.

4. Drink up!

Don’t underestimate the importance of water – before, during and after your workout. Your body is made of up over 50% water, which lubricates joints, helps regulate body temperature and is vital for the functioning of your cells and organs. During a workout you lose water at a faster rate than at rest, through heavy breathing and sweating. On average, one should drink one half to one cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes during a workout. In the heat of the summer, this amount will increase.

5. Foods that replenish electrolytes

Electrolytes in the body help maintain proper fluids, maintain blood pressure and allow muscles to contract. Much are lost through sweat during a tough workout. Contrary to popular belief, electrolytes can be replenished by more than just sports drinks. Plant-based foods like vegetables and beans are natural sources of electrolytes as is dairy and coconut water. As long as you are consuming a variety of whole foods and drinking adequate water, you can likely meet your needs.