When it comes to your health, there’s very little that can compare to a good bit of exercise. Whether you’re trying to build muscle, improve your cardio, burn fat, or any combination of the three, no hour is wasted that’s spent exercising. It also helps that exercising can work wonders when it comes to stress reduction and mood improvement. Of course, your body still needs to be properly fuelled to actually help you get through your workout, as well as help your body recover when you’re done. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are tips on how to properly fuel your body before and after your workout.
No matter what exercise it is you’re doing, it’s important that your body is kept fell-fed if you want to get the most out of it. Thankfully, it’s not difficult to do this. It could be as simple as grabbing a piece of fruit before you leave, or, if you have the time, some plain Greek yogurt with fruit. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to your pre-workout nutrition, however.
Carbohydrates are one of the biggest sources of energy for your body, the “fuel” for your bodies “engine”. And the harder you push your engine, the more fuel it’ll need. Carbohydrates can mostly be found in foods like nuts, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, so there’s certainly no shortage of them.
You should also try to minimise the amount of fat you eat before your workout, if not avoid it all together. Fats take a while to digest, so they'll be sticking around in your body for longer than most foods, which can leave you feeling pretty sluggish during your workout. You want to be at the top of your game while you're pumping iron, so this is a great reason to maybe consider cutting back on fatty food before your workouts.
A few examples of foods you can eat before your workout can include:
- A Greek yogurt parfait with fruit. It only takes a few minutes to whip up, and can even be eaten on your way to your workout if you’re using a disposable cup.
- A peanut butter and banana sandwich, or classic PBJ if you want, both work fine.
- A fruit smoothie, if you’re using whole fruits. Depending on the flavor, you can even add some protein to it.
- A handful of nuts and raisins, if you’re really pressed for time.
- Oatmeal, a classic meal for any athlete.
While it’s important to make sure that your body has the energy to perform during your workout, it’s equally important that your body is properly fuelled during its post-workout recovery phase. It’s during this phase that your body starts repairing the muscles that were damaged during your workout, leading to muscle growth. So if you want to improve your muscle recovery, try getting some carbs and protein into your system as soon as you’ve completed your workout. Protein helps to rebuild damaged muscles, leading to muscle growth, while carbs help to restore your bodies energy stores. So if you get enough of those in your system, you’ll be re-energised and stronger when your next workout comes up.
For some post-workout meal ideas, here are some good examples:
- A post-workout smoothie. Mixing in some fruit with protein is a great way to make a delicious muscle recovery drink.
- A turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread.
- A hard-boiled egg with some vegetables.
- A spinach and egg white omelette.
If you're looking for more meals you can have pre=post workout, check out this list from Greatist HERE.
There are plenty of other meals/supplements that you take pre/post workout, and everyone has something that works best for them. So if you have any meals or supplements that you find effective before and after your workout, feel free to share them in the comments.