What to Eat Before and After a Workout
The success of training in the gym depends not only on the correct technique and regularity but also on proper nutrition before and after training. The nutrients you take in will determine how long and hard you can train in the gym and how well your body recovers from exercise.
5-Minute Crafts will tell you how to make your workouts even more effective through nutrition.
Your nutrition plan will depend on the type of workout you’re doing and your body composition goals. However, several basic principles can be deduced:
- Do not exercise on an empty stomach. Not eating enough before a workout can cause dizziness, nausea, or make you sleepy. Optimal pre-workout nutrient intake might help you to achieve peak performance but might minimize muscle damage.
- Define a goal. If your goal is to lose weight, then the portion of food should be small and contain fewer carbohydrates and more protein. If your goal is to gain muscle mass, then you should consume more carbohydrates and proteins.
- Pick the right time. Eating too close to a workout can cause some problems. Therefore, the ideal time to eat is 1-3 hours before training. More hearty meals should be consumed 2-3 hours before training, and a small snack can be eaten closer to training.
- Drink plenty of water. Drinking enough water before, during, and after your workout increases your energy levels and helps prevent cramps.
Pre-workout meals will depend on the intensity and purpose of the workout. They should contain all of the macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbohydrates will be the fuel, and protein will help restore muscles. Some endurance sports, like running or cycling, may require you to eat during your workout to keep your energy levels up.
- Banana. Bananas are an excellent source of natural sugars, simple carbohydrates, and potassium.
- Trail mix. Trail mix is a combination of dried fruits and nuts that is rich in proteins and fats.
- Apple with peanut butter. This snack is high in protein, as well as fiber and antioxidants.
- Oatmeal. Oatmeal contains a lot of fiber and complex carbohydrates that are slowly broken down by the body. You can also add some skim milk to your cereal for an extra dose of protein and calcium.
- Cheese slices. Cheese is a protein-rich source of calcium, phosphorus, and selenium.
- Smoothies. Fruit smoothies are a great source of carbohydrates. Mix it using water or ice to avoid dehydration.
- Fried eggs, vegetables, and avocado. This dish combines high-quality protein, healthy fats, and nutrients.
- Tuna. Tuna is a healthy dish that is rich in protein, B vitamins, and fatty acids.
- Whole grain bread, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. These foods are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. Combined with a good source of protein, you get a good source of slow-release energy.
- Chia pudding. This snack is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as calcium, phosphorus, and manganese.
After training, you should always eat food — ideally after 30-60 minutes. It should be aimed at replenishing energy reserves and provide enough protein to prevent muscle protein breakdown and stimulate muscle synthesis.
- Chicken, rice, and vegetables. This dish is high in protein and carbohydrates.
- Milk. Milk has an ideal ratio of carbohydrates and proteins.
- Whole grain turkey wrap. This dish contains high fiber carbohydrates and proteins.
- Protein bar. This simple and quick snack contains proteins and carbohydrates.
- Whole wheat toast with egg. This dish contains carbohydrates and proteins.
- Rice crackers and nut butter. Nut butter is rich in protein, fiber, and heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
- Salmon with sweet potatoes. Salmon is rich in protein and omega-3s, while sweet potatoes contain carbohydrates and fiber.
- Protein cocktail. Protein shakes are an easy and convenient way to increase your protein intake without the extra carbs and fats.
- Quinoa. This product has a low glycemic index and is rich in fiber and protein.
- Greek yogurt and fruit. This dish is a good source of protein and carbohydrates.