Do you know that food is necessary 2 hours prior to doing the workout? For example, just imagine a machine, before starting it you need to fuel it first; only then the machine is going to function properly. Similarly, your body is a machine and needs proper nutrition. And did you know that what you eat after a workout is also important, too? It’s like re-fueling after exercise which gives your body the necessary nutrients to recover from the exertion and thus builds stronger muscles.
From the above description you can conclude that if you concern more about what you eat before and after exercising, it will help you maximize the benefits of all your hard work during exercise at the gym. Here are the top tips regarding eating right both before and after your workout.
What to eat before a workout –
If you do not eat before doing exercise, it can make you feel dizzy, light headed, nauseous, or inactive. There might be chances of getting yourself injured. Skipping your food may negatively affect your body performance and reduce your gains.
Well, the obvious truth is that everyone won’t have the time to eat before a workout. You wake up in the morning, get freshen up then go for a walk or do exercise, then get ready for going to the office. The truth is, it’s OK to workout on an empty stomach for most people
NOTE – This is not recommended doing if you have blood sugar issues.
Generally, you need to fuel up before you workout and sweat. And strictly drink water before, during, and after doing a workout.
Here are the tips regarding eating right both before your workout –
- Carbs are good –
Carbs equal to energy. As soon as we consume carbs, they will break down into glucose, gets into our muscle cells, and provide us energy to exercise at our maximum capacity.
NOTE – Eat 2-3 hours before doing any workout.
Our muscles will store glucose in the form of glycogen. Eating carbs before you workout verifies that you’ll get extra glucose. Carbohydrates are easy to digest and give quick energy.
Carbohydrates rich intake foods are –
- Dried fruit
- A cereal bar
- A piece of toast
- Greek yogurt
- A rice cake
- Don’t forget about protein –
If you are doing weight training, you can have a little bit of protein before your workout. Your muscles need protein only then it will get bigger and stronger than they were before. Do not have a burger before a workout. Instead, go for foods having good sources of protein since they are easily digestible, plus don’t eat too much, otherwise, you might get an upset stomach within few mile run.
Good sources of protein to eat before a workout are –
- Milk or soy milk
- A hardboiled egg
- Greek yogurt
- A slice of turkey
- Take care of timing –
The proper time to eat is between 30 minutes to 3 hours before you do exercise. By doing this, you are still digesting when you strike the floor, and also do not use all helpful calories from the foods. Due to many reasons, you might not able to eat a whole meal before you strike the gym floor. But, a mini-breakfast or small snack will be sufficient. Take a protein-packed green smoothie before 30 minutes to an hour prior to doing the workout in the morning. If you are exercising other than any time except morning, then it is advised to have a 100 to 150 calorie snack for about 30 minutes to 1 hour before doing exercise, or 2-3 hours after a healthy meal.
- Drink up –
Best way to keep your body hydrated is drinking plenty of water before you head towards the gym. To verify your total hydration level, you can check out the color of your urine in the morning. It should be in light yellow color. While the dark-colored urine indicates that your body is a deficit in H20.
Take 2 glass of water 2 to 3 hours before doing workout and 1 glass of water 10 to 20 minutes before doing exercise. Dehydration can lead to low energy, and muscle cramps or contractions. You should also try to keep your body hydrated throughout your workout. You can drink 1 cup of water after every 15-30 minutes intervals of extreme physical exercise, especially if you are sweating in a heated environment.
Here are a few tips for eating snack and meal before workout –
- A protein-packed green smoothie with one fruit and half plate of vegetables.
- A half plate of roasted veggies, 4 ounces of baked salmon, ¾ cup of brown rice.
- 100-calorie cereal bar
- An apple or pear with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.
- ¾ cup of yogurt with ½ cup of berries and 1 tablespoon granola
- 2 tablespoons of dried fruit and 1 tablespoon of raw, unsalted nuts
- Oatmeal with a tablespoon of peanut butter and one fruit
- 1-2 rice cakes with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
What to eat after a workout –
You need to look after your diet which you eat after a workout. Glycogen is been reduced from your body during your exercise.
When you don’t eat after a workout?
If you are trying to lose extreme weight or fighting with low blood sugar problems you can have a small meal. But, keep in mind that you’re also slowing your body’s repair process. So, if you continuously start skipping a meal after a workout, it will be harder to reach your fitness goals.
- Make sure to eat something soon –
Your body has just used maximum energy to function at maximum capacity. Therefore, you need to refuel your body within about 30 minutes of working out. This will restore the energy back.
Due to some reasons if you aren’t able to eat a full meal, have a snack within 20 minutes of your workout, and then eat a full meal after 3 to 4 hours.
- Refuel with carbs and protein.
Eating protein after a workout is a necessary for a fast muscle recovery, especially after weight training. Remember, you’ve cut down glycogen and torn up your muscles. Therefore, your meal after a workout is required to be high in complex carbohydrates and fill with healthy protein.
Complex carbohydrates include –
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat bread
Healthy proteins include –
For athletes, there are totally different diet plan as they do a lot of workouts and therefore need a lot of protein intakes.
- Don’t overcompensate –
Taking a diet with a lot of calories is fine if you are trying to gain weight. But, people who want to lose or maintain their weight; you need to check out the number of calories you are taking. These people should avoid consuming sugar products in any type of drinks, bars, dessert, etc. Try to keep your before workout snack approximately 150 calories and your after workout meal under 500.
- Drink plenty of waters –
Drinking plenty of water is even more required than eating. Don’t stop drinking. You can note down the weight of yourself before and after exercise. Now, after your workout, for every single pound, you’ve lost drink 16 ounces of fluid. Check your urine color for your overall hydration status.
Here are a few tips for after workout snack-
- Snack: 1 – 2 hardboiled eggs with a slice of whole wheat toast
- Snack: 1 cup of chocolate milk
- Snack: 2 graham crackers with a tablespoon of peanut butter
- Snack: 1 slice of whole wheat toast with ½ sliced banana and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
- Meal: Omelet with veggie mix, avocado and ½ cup of potatoes
- Meal: A whole wheat pita filled with veggies and 2 tablespoons hummus
- Meal: 4 ounces of steamed fish with a baked sweet potato and fried spinach
- Meal: A protein-rich green smoothie
NOTE- All the above-given meal is generally different for people who want to gain weight and people who don’t.
Author: Hiten Patil
Hiten is Content Writer and He write about all platform like health and wellness related blog and other platform as well