What to eat before a workout?
Fuelling your body with the right nutrients prior to exercise will help you with your performance and endurance throughout your workout.
Carbs equal energy, when we eat them our body breaks them down into glucose and they enter our muscle cells giving us the fuel and energy we need. Eating simple carbs prior to your workout is ideal, as they digest faster and provide a quick release of energy.
In addition to carbs it is recommended to consume a bit of protein prior to working out, especially if you’re weight training. Reach for sources of protein that are easily digestible and don’t consume too much as this can often upset your stomach. Eating 30 minutes prior to your workout will ensure you have the energy to push through and don’t feel lethargic.
Below are some examples of good foods to consume PRE workout;
Bananas are rich in easily digestible carbohydrates and potassium, they also contain sugar and starch which are primary sources of energy for your body. The potassium found in bananas also aids in maintaining muscle and nerve function.
- Rice cakes with natural peanut butter
If you’re gluten free or just not a fan of bread then rice cakes are a great option for you, they are low in calories averaging 25-30 calories per rice cake. Topping them with natural peanut butter which contains protein will give you an extra energy boost.
Greek yoghurt is packed with protein, almost double the amount normal yoghurt contains and generally low in sugar. Try pairing your greek yoghurt with some dried fruit and nuts this will provide that quick energy boost your body needs – remember to control your portion sizes.
Oats are full of fiber, meaning they contain a steady release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream and will keep energy levels consistent throughout your workout. As they provide a slow release of energy they will satisfy your hunger for longer also making them a great breakfast food.
What to eat after a workout?
It is essential you eat after a workout, when we are working out, our muscles use up glycogen stores as fuel, you need to replenish the glycogen that has been depleted during your workout and replace the calories you used up. It is also very important for muscle recovery and decreasing muscle protein breakdown. Carbs and protein help with recovery and it is recommended that we consume our post workout within 45 minutes after exercise.
Below are some examples of good foods to consume POST workout;
- Pineapple – the tropical fruit will not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but eating pineapple after a heavy workout can help with muscle recovery as the fruit is rich in carbohydrates, it provides fiber to lower cholesterol levels and contains vitamin B6 which can help the formation of red blood cells. Oh and it’s all NATURAL.
- Watermelon – another fruit with amazing health benefits. Each bite of watermelon contains roughly 92% water, not only will it help with rehydration but will replenish glycogen levels. Watermelon also contains a non-essential amino acid called L-citrulline which is then converted into L-arginine after absorption and can help with a faster recovery time and less muscle pain.
- Eggs – Eggs are an excellent source of protein post training. With one egg containing roughly 6g of protein, they also contain lots of important vitamins and minerals your body needs. Although whole eggs do not contain many calories they do contain quite a bit of fat and cholesterol, however this problem can easily be solved by removing the yolks and trying egg whites.
- Chicken – chicken is packed with lean protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and iron. Protein is important when it comes to repairing and maintaining muscle tissue. B vitamins found in chicken are good for metabolism, nerve function and maintaining healthy red blood cells. Pairing your chicken with some steamed greens is a great idea for a post workout meal.
There are many other great foods to consume pre and post workout, these are just a few healthy snack/food ideas.