Most of us can relate to that stop, drop and roll sensation of hunger when your body is telling you that you need to eat something. This sensation is important to control when maintaining a healthy lifestyle and trying to meet your fitness goals. It is important to remember that when it comes to fitness, exercise and nutrition are the perfect pair. Nutritional food is what gives your body the energy you need to push past your fitness barriers and master a workout.
The meals you eat before and after your workout are essential to your fitness regime because of the impact and influence it has on your results. Although coming up with a pre and post exercise meal plan may seem challenging, once you break it down it is something that everyone can easily incorporate into their daily life. Here are our tips to helping you get the most out of your pre and post exercise meals.
Fueling your Fitness
You should always eat something before you exercise to provide your body with enough energy to push through any workout. When and what you eat makes a difference in how your body will perform. To meet your body’s pre-exercise needs you should eat something approximately 1 hour to 30 minutes before your workout. Nutritionists recommend that during this time active individuals should eat something that will help to sustain energy, boost performance, hydrate, preserve muscle mass and speed recovery. Foods that contain these types of nutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Carbohydrates are the nutrient that fuels your body while training. Carbohydrates preserve muscle and help to increase muscle retention and growth. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, bread, and pasta are all examples of healthy carbohydrates.
Protein is the nutrient that aids in new muscle growth. Protein-rich foods help maintain muscle and reduce muscle damage. A moderate amount of meat or dairy that are low in fat will provide you with an energy-filled workout.
Fats do not diminish sport performance. Fats help to slow digestion, making you feel fuller longer, while also providing your body with much-needed vitamins and minerals.
- Greek yogurt with berries
- Oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit
- Apple and peanut butter or almond butter
- Mixed nuts
The Road to Recovery
Consuming the right nutrients after you exercise is just as important as what you eat before. Eating the right nutrients after exercise helps your body to recover, rehydrate, refuel, build muscle and will give you the energy you need to conquer the rest of your day. Nutritionists recommend that you should eat your post-workout meal within 45 minutes of finishing your working out. The goal is to supply your body with the proper nutrients to maximize the benefits of your workout. Combining the right balance of carbohydrates and protein is essential to every post-workout meal.
After exercise, your body’s fuel is low. So, it is important to incorporate carbohydrates into your post workout meal to increase your energy levels and aid in your body’s recovery process.
Eating protein after you exercise helps to kick-start muscle repair, recovery, and growth. Complete proteins will repair your muscle tissue after you exercise.
- Recovery smoothie
- Low-fat chocolate milk
- Turkey on a whole-grain wrap with vegetables
- Cottage Cheese
The Bottom Line
Everyone’s needs for workout nutrition will be different depending on the type of workout you’re crushing that day, your genetics, and your overall fitness goals. However, it is always important to remember that anyone who is leading a healthy and active lifestyle should focus on food quality and quantity – maximizing your food intake. Regardless if you are someone who is new to working out, an athlete, or a seasoned gym veteran, you can use these workout nutrition strategies to help make a difference in your next workout.