After a long day at work or school, many people are looking for a way to release some stress and get in shape. Working out is an excellent way to do both of those things! The only problem with working out is that it can be hard on your body. That’s why you need to take care of what you drink and eat before and after your workout.
There are many options available for fueling your body before, during, and after a workout. However, some of the most important things to remember when selecting what to drink or eat you will consume is knowing how much energy you need for your workout to break down the food properly in your stomach. Here are some great food options for you to choose from so that you reap exclusive benefits of your extensive weight loss programs:
What you should eat before working out depends upon several things: your personal goals (weight loss, weight gain, maintenance), your activity (how intense and how long), and the time of day. You can’t go wrong with a balanced meal; however, you may need extra protein if you know you will be doing an intense workout. Make sure the balance of carbohydrates and protein is appropriate for your activity level.
The type of exercise people are doing is essential to consider when ingesting food before, during, or after. If working out for just 60 minutes or less, it’s not necessary to eat anything before you start. For strenuous workouts lasting longer than that, be sure to take in a small carbohydrate and protein snack within an hour of beginning your training. The goal is to have that small snack produce a gradual rise in blood sugar, not a spike. It will keep your body from going into a catabolic state, and you will have the energy for an extended workout.
What to eat before a workout?
- A cup of coffee can make you feel more alert and energized. Caffeine has been shown to increase metabolic rate by up to 16 percent, which may help you burn more calories, especially when paired with an exercise routine.
- Drink water before your workout to hydrate: water is the essential nutrient to our body, and it’s also a zero-calorie drink with no fat, sodium, or sugars. Water also helps your muscle to move when stressing them for your reps.
- Bananas are among the most popular fruits globally because they’re delicious, nutritious, and easily accessible. They contain essential nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6. The level of carbohydrates helps maintain your energy levels during your workout for improved performance.
- Almonds are noted sources of good fats, which help you control your appetite and provide the energy needed to stay active throughout the day. It makes almonds a popular choice among those looking for ways to lose weight.
- Spinach is rich in vitamins A, C, and E. It also contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron without high cholesterol or saturated fat levels. The combination of the nutrients in spinach helps you maintain intense energy levels for your workout session.
- Pumpkin seeds contain essential minerals such as zinc, iron, and magnesium. Magnesium is necessary for energy production, while zinc protects the body against free radicals that cause cell damage.
- Coconut water has an ideal combination of minerals like potassium (more than four times found in sports drinks), magnesium, sodium, chloride, and phosphorous. It also contains antioxidants like vitamin C and E, which are needed for your immune system. Coconut has a good dose of healthy saturated fats and lauric acid, which supports healthy thyroid function.
- Oats are rich in dietary fiber, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, and essential B-complex vitamins. Oats will help you stay full for more extended periods because of the high fiber content. They are also good for your heart health due to their cholesterol-lowering effect.
- Iron is needed for healthy red blood cells to help give you energy. Spinach is a good source of iron, magnesium, and vitamin K.
- Blueberries contain potent antioxidants anthocyanins that protect your body against free radical damage. They are also high in manganese, which helps to support bone strength, as well as potassium and copper, which keep your nervous system in tip-top shape.
Why eat a post-workout meal?
When you break down your muscles, they grow back stronger. However, the same is not valid for your stomach and digestive system. Your body needs a lot of energy to recover all those used-up muscles after a workout. That’s why it’s essential to eat a post-workout meal.
What to consume after your workout?
There are a variety of foods you can eat immediately after your workout, so let’s start there.
- Post-Workout Lean Protein: Chicken breast, turkey meat, lean beef, or any other kind of lean protein that’s low in saturated fat is a good choice for a post-workout meal.
- High Fiber Carbohydrates: This one is obvious, you are hungry after a workout, so go ahead and eat some fruits. Bananas are great because they are easily digestible. Other good options are apples, pears, peaches, or any different kind of high fiber carbohydrate fruit that can stop muscle cramps in their tracks. The studies also show that an ‘immediate ingestion’ of carbs after strenuous activity, especially repeated sprint activity, reduces muscle damage and enzyme leakage into the bloodstream. What this all boils down to is minor delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
- Post Workout Fat: Nuts contain fat, but they’re healthy fats, and this is an excellent time to enjoy them after your workout. They have many minerals and vitamins that our bodies need to recover properly, and the monounsaturated fat will help replace muscle glycogen (burned off during your workout).
- Post Workout Shake: This is an excellent time for a protein shake or some milk. Milk has casein protein which breaks down slowly, giving the muscles long-lasting amino acids to help rebuild them from stress inflicted during your workout.
- Glucose: After working out for an hour at 70-80% of maximum, your glycogen stores will be almost depleted. It would be best if you ate or drank something containing glucose to restore this vital nutrient quickly. Glucose is just a simple sugar, but it’s the body’s preferred source of energy for high-intensity exercise and one of the primary molecules that make up ATP (our muscles’ energy source). That’s why you need it in your system after a workout. When glycogen is low, the body breaks down muscle proteins for energy instead of storing them as fat.
Conclusion: remember abs are made in the kitchen; your pre-workout and post-workout meals are just as important as the workout itself. So take care that you consume balanced eating before and after.