There are two aspects to staying fit – eating well and exercising regularly. You may be following a good workout plan and sticking to it regularly, but what you eat before and after the workout can determine its effectiveness.
There are no hard-and-fast rules regarding what you should and shouldn’t eat before and after a workout. However, hare a few suggestions that could be beneficial.
Before A Workout
If you are just heading out for a brisk walk or a long jog, a glass of water may be enough. However, for more intense workouts, you need to fuel your body before you start. If you do not have enough energy, you will not have the stamina to complete the workout which, in turn, could limit the number of calories burnt. This is where carbohydrates come in.
Carbohydrates have a bad reputation as food that makes you put on weight. However, when eaten in controlled amounts and at the right time, they are a great source of energy. Eating complex carbohydrates just before you work out allows them to become an immediate fuel source. That’s not all! It also keeps them from being converted into fat. Carbs are the most important nutrient if you are going to be working out for more than 90 minutes at a stretch.
Protein is also a great idea before a workout. This could be in the form of a glass of milk, an egg or whey protein. These are fast absorbing proteins that increase resting energy and blunt cortisol during the day. These proteins also have spare carbs that can be used as fuel for long workouts. The amino acids in these proteins help break down sugar, which helps in quicker fuel production. There are many different types of whey protein available in the market these days. Instead of adopting a hit-and-try method to find out what is the most suitable one for your needs, you can take a look at the Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein Review.
It is e extremely important to time this pre-workout snack. Ideally, you should not eat anything an hour before working out. Working out on a full stomach can make you retch and bring up the food instead of allowing it to fuel your body. If you feel hungry just before working out, snack on a fruit such as an apple or a banana that can be digested easily. Fried foods should also be avoided. Also, do not try out a new food just before a workout.
During The Workout
Your pre-workout nutrition should be able to fuel you through the length of your work out. The only time you might need added nutrition during a workout is if you are preparing for physique competition. Here, fluids are your best option. A workout cocktail should be water-based and contain a combination of carbohydrates, hydrolyzed protein, and electrolytes. This should be consumed in small, frequent sips. Water also helps cool your body.
After A Workout
After a workout, you need to give your body enough nutrition to refuel and repair itself. At this stage, protein is essential. The main function of proteins is to repair tissues and create new muscles. Without sufficient protein, your body will not be able to replace fats with lean muscle.
The amount of protein needed after a workout depends on your physique and activity levels. Again, whey proteins are great post-workout nutrition. This is because they can be digested easily and are rich in BCAAs. In most cases, 20 grams of whey protein are sufficient for a post-workout snack. Amino acids are also very important post workout. BCAAs help boosts amino acid levels and make up for calorific deficiencies.
Fast carbohydrates are an optional post workout snack. This can help regulate blood sugar levels and replenish glycogen. This also spares proteins and allows them to be used solely to rebuild muscles and speed up recovery.
You should also drink plenty of fluids after a workout. This keeps you from getting dehydrated and replenishes electrolytes. Water is the ideal fluid and may be mixed with orange juice to energize the body. Caffeinated drinks should be avoided as they can further dehydration.
What To Avoid?
It is also important to know what foods you should be avoiding. This includes candies and sugars. While sugar may give you instant energy, it does not provide any nutritional benefits to your body. For this reason, the calories in sugar are also known as empty calories. Try eating fresh uncooked fruits and vegetables instead of cooked vegetables. This helps you get the maximum amount of nutrition out of these food items.