Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle or just be healthier overall, the main thing you need to be conscious of is the food that you put into your body. Many people overlook that aspect, and don’t get the desired results as a consequence. The food you eat is just as important as the workout that you do, so you need to put just as much thought and effort into planning your meals like you do your workout.
Eating something right before and right after your workout is critical. The pre-workout food will give you the energy and stamina to complete your workout, and the post-workout food will help your body recover. Here are some tips and suggestions on what foods to each before and after your workout.
Carbs, Proteins and Fluids Before Your Workout
Your muscles need foods with carbohydrates like rice, fruit, pasta, cereal and bread to give you energy and stamina. Proteins help give your muscles the nutrients and oxygen they need to function properly. And of course, drinking plenty of fluids before your workout is critical to allow your body to perform at its best.
Contrary to many beliefs, there isn’t one perfect meal or snack that you should eat before your workout. Everyone’s body is different, so you’ll have to eat the foods that are best for your body type and what makes you feel better.
Eating some toast with banana slices is a great pre-workout meal. Another popular meal is Greek yogurt with some granola or trail mix. Many people also like to mix up some smoothies with a lot of protein before their workout to help keep them going. If you want to eat something a little heartier, then try a grilled chicken sandwich. All of these foods have the carbs and proteins that will help fuel your workout.
Balance Carbs and Proteins After Your Workout
The post-workout food that you eat is equally as important as your pre-workout food. Many people don’t feel hungry after the workout, especially if they eat right before the workout. Whether you are hungry or not, your muscles need food after working out, and preferably within one hour of completing the workout.
Proteins help your muscles recover from the workout, while carbs will help restore your energy. Eating within one hour of working out will help your muscles recover more quickly and give you more energy, since the muscles are more receptive during that timeframe.
Eating some grilled chicken with vegetables is a light meal that is excellent for helping your body recover. Some people also turn to a high quality fish, like salmon, because of the high amount of protein. But if you have no desire to eat a larger snack after your workout, then at the very least you should drink a protein shake or chocolate milk.
How Much To Eat and Drink?
You really don’t have to eat a large amount of food before or after your workout. It’s just important to not workout on a completely empty stomach. If you’re in a time crunch and don’t have time to eat before your workout, then at least drink a good amount of water so that you will be plenty hydrated.
Most people plan their meals depending on the intensity of the workout. If you are going out for a light jog, then you will probably be just fine eating a banana or something light like that. But if you are doing intense training, then it’s very important that you give your body enough food to help it recover.
The main thing to know is to not starve yourself, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Not eating when you are on a workout schedule could cause more harm to your body than good!