Fueling your body the right way before and after you workout is one of the keys to reaching your fitness goals. Whether you want to lose belly fat or build muscle, the food you eat can make all the difference to success.
We all want to get the most from our workouts. Let’s face it, working out is like anything else, you'll have good days and bad. Some days it just comes easily, others we find ourselves dragging our feet a little. One of the biggest advantages you can give yourself is eating right. Give your body the right fuel and you will start having more days that see you out the door with an extra kick in your step.
Timing is also important when it comes to fueling your exercise efforts.
It can be tempting to skip a pre-workout snack but don’t do it. Exercising on an empty stomach can cause your blood sugar to drop and make you feel lightheaded.
So, what type of food should you eat before you head to the gym?
Carbs for energy:
While getting enough protein is important for building and repairing muscles don’t forget to munch on carbs as well. Carbs are what keep your body full of energy so you can get the most out of your workout. Your muscles and liver actually depend on your carb intake. The glycogen stored in your liver and muscles is converted into glucose and that is the fuel you use during exercise. If you don’t have glucose in your system, you won’t have energy.
Protein for muscle repair:
Don’t forget to include protein in your pre-workout snack, it can help with post workout muscle soreness. It is made up of amino acids that are like building blocks for your muscles and can really help you recover after a hard workout. This is especially true if you are weight training or running.
Fat for fuel:
If your workouts last more than an hour then having some healthy fats in your snack is also important. Once you deplete your supply of glucose fat is what your body will use for fuel. It can also help with cardiovascular health and immune system integrity
When to eat pre-workout?
It’s important that you don’t eat right before a workout. It’s a good idea to eat 30 minutes to 1 hour before hitting the gym. That way your body has a chance to digest and absorb this important nutrition.
What foods should I choose for my pre-workout snack:
There are many great choices for pre-workout snacks. Here are some great ideas:
These wonderful fruits are loaded with quality carbohydrates, plus they pack a potassium punch which helps with muscle function. Try a large banana with ½ cup of Greek yogurt or a tbsp of natural peanut butter.
Great any time of day cooked oats are another great choice. They are packed with fibre and provide a steady stream of carbs during your workout. Try delicious cooked oats with flax seed oil and fresh berries, yum!
Smoothies are a pre-exercise favourite. They are loaded with quality protein and are easy to digest. This is a great choice if you are strapped for time. This delicious option will keep you energized throughout your workout.
Craving something savory, we’ve got you covered:
Wonderful on whole wheat bread tuna sandwiches are a quick and easy choice. Plus they’re the perfect mix of carbs and protein. Try them toasted with fresh tomato slices, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with pepper. Delicious!
Here is a delicious recipe to try: www.oceanbrands.com/healthy-recipes/lite-tuna-sandwich
Just rinse and season with lemon juice, so easy and packed with useful nutrition. A small serving of ¼ cup will give you 9 grams of fibre, 10 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbs. How perfect is that!
So, what type of food should you eat after your workout?
A good workout can leave anyone hungry. Making the right food choices after your workout is just as important as your pre-workout snack. No matter what you’re into, yoga, weights, cycling or jogging, proper post-workout nutrition will help your body restore and repair.
After you exercise your body will have used up the fuel you gave it before you started. That means you will have used up the glycogen in your muscles. In order to start the repair process your muscles need you to consume some fast digesting simple carbs.
It’s easy to forget to eat something right after you exercise but it’s very important. A piece of fruit is an excellent choice.
During this time it is also very important to have a high protein meal, this ensures muscle recovery and sets you up for your next workout.
When to eat after your workout?
The first 30 to 60 minutes after you work out is called the “anabolic window”. During this time is when you should eat your post workout meal. This window of time is when muscle growth actually happens so make sure you fuel your body for optimal results.
What foods should I choose for my post-workout snack:
Hard boiled eggs
Slice one in half and spread with hummus for a protein packed snack. The amino acids in the egg yolk will also help with muscle repair.
A mixture of protein packed nuts and dried fruit is a good choice if you’re on the go.
Low fat cheese
Pair your favorite low fat cheese with some crisp apple slices. Protein and carbs never tasted so good.
Mix a can of tuna with light mayo and chopped vegetables, serve in a lettuce wrap and pair it with rye crisps. Perfect way to upscale your post workout munchies.
What you eat really does make a huge difference to your fitness goals. If you want lean muscle mass you need to fuel your body the right way. In fact your pre and post workout meals are the most important in your journey to fitness.
Some quick points to remember:
1-Eat carbs and protein 30 minutes to 1 hour before hitting the gym.
2- if you don’t have much time before the gym be sure to eat something easy to digest. A smoothie is a great option.
3-Right after you finish exercising replace the glycogen your muscles used.
4-Then eat a protein and complex carb meal to repair and build.
5-Make it a top priority to give your body the right fuel and you will be well on your way to optimum fitness.
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