What to Eat Before And After a Workout

Learning when and what to eat before a workout is important because it gives you energy to handle workout sessions more effectively.
Your body is your vehicle, so you have to keep your engine running when you work out. That means fuelling up your body by eating the right foods and drinking the right fluids, in the right amounts at the right times.

The American College of Sports Medicine says, “Adequate food and fluid should be consumed before, during, and after exercise to help maintain blood glucose concentration during exercise, maximize exercise performance, and improve recovery time. Athletes should be well hydrated before exercise and drink enough fluid during and after exercise to balance fluid losses.”

The American College of Sports Medicine says, “Adequate food and fluid should be consumed before, during, and after exercise to help maintain blood glucose concentration during exercise, maximize exercise performance, and improve recovery time. Athletes should be well hydrated before exercise and drink enough fluid during and after exercise to balance fluid losses.”

When to eat ?

Ideally, a person should consume around 2–3 hours before exercising a balanced meal of all 3 macro nutrients as each one contribute differently on a pre-workout meal.Protein supplies amino acids, that are essential for the building, maintaining, and repair of muscle fibers. Carbohydrates & fats are an essential energy source.
Waiting a few hours after eating allows the body enough time to digest the meal.However, if it’s been more than 4 hours of your last meal before a workout, it may be better to eat a small meal 30-60 minutes before working out.

Here are some suggestions:

1) Banana:-

Packed with fast-acting carbs, bananas provide you with fuel to handle your workout with good energy. It also provides you with potassium that helps maintain nerve and muscle function. If you like to exercise first thing in the morning, it is important that you do not hit the gym on an empty stomach. Not fuelling up before you work out is like “driving a car on empty.” Eating a banana prior to your workout will provide you with essential amino acids and other important nutrients to perform better in the gym.

2) Oats:-

Oats provide you with loads of fiber that help with a steady release of carbs. It means that you will have a supply of steady energy throughout your workout. You can always opt for oatmeal with milk & some fruit of your choice.

3) Fruit Smoothies:-

Fruit smoothies will always be on the list of what to eat before a workout because they are a perfect source of high-quality protein. At the same time, you get simple and complex carbs from fruit smoothies.You will get instant energy from those simple carbs in your smoothies and the complex carbs will kick in after 20 minutes and help you stay energized up to an hour or so.

4) Chickpea Salad:-

You can have boiled chickpeas with cucumber & tomato before a workout. Even a quarter cup serving with some lemon juice added to it will provide you with 30g of carbs along with 10g of protein and about 9g of fiber.

5) Egg Whites:-

Your body takes time to metabolize the fat in egg yolks. Therefore, you may want to avoid egg yolk but you can certainly have some egg whites before you start your workout. You get about 4g of protein with no fat from a single egg white.

6) Dried Fruits:-

You can opt for dried fruits if you are about to start your workout and want something to keep you energized. Dried fruits provide you with simple carbs that offer instant energy. They are light so they are less likely to weigh you down. Some good options include apricots, dried berries, figs and dates.

7) Whole Grain Toast with peanut butter:-

Whole grain toast is a complex crab that serve as a source of slow-release, sustained energy and keep you energized throughout your workout session. You can top it off with peanut butter as it has potassium as well as protein. It also contains fibre, healthy fats, magnesium to fortify your bones and muscles, Vitamin E and antioxidants.

8) Yogurt:-

You can consume normal yogurt with fruit but not fruit yogurt or Greek yogurt If you are looking for more protein.

9) Apple Wedges with Almond Butter:-

You can always have an apple before you hit the gym. This provides you with some energy and keeps you from dealing with a sugar crash in the middle of your workout session. It also provides you with essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. You can use some almond butter (a tablespoon will do) to ensure your stomach does not growl after eating those apple wedges.

10) Wheat crackers with cheese:-

This low glycaemic index carb with a source of protein is perfect combination that keeps you going throughout the work ok. Focus on about half a serving of crackers and an ounce of cheese (about three to four dice-sized cubes). opt for crackers that have at least three grams of fiber. I usually recommend Ryvita, Wasa sourdough, Hunter’s brown rice crackers; you can replace cheese with labneh too.

What to avoid ?

1) Fried and Fatty Foods:-

Your digestive system takes time to handle fried and fatty foods, such as pizza, fried, and burgers. If you work out, your body will take longer to digest these foods and this will lead to cramping, bloating, and diarrhea.

2) Carbonated Beverages:-

Fizzy waters, sodas, and beer can lead to gas. Drinking carbonated beverages prior to a workout session will also cause indigestion, discomfort, and flatulence. You will also have little energy to complete your workout session.

3) Alcohol:-

When you have strict workout routine, it is important to avoid alcohol before you hit the gym. Hydration is extremely important, and alcohol can have a dehydrating effect on your system. It has diuretic properties and can actually suppress fat oxidation. Therefore, it will become difficult to stay energized in the gym and lose fat effectively.

Post workout: Refuel Your Tank

To help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores, eat a meal that contains both carbohydrates and protein within an hour of your exercise session if possible.

Fluids:- Drink water, of course. If possible, take tender coconut water; else blend your water with 100% juice such as orange juice which provides fluids, carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates:- You burn a lot of carbohydrates the main fuel for your muscles when you exercise. In the 20-60 minutes after your workout, your muscles can store carbohydrates and protein as energy and help in recovery.

Protein. Eat things with protein to help repair and grow your muscles.

It’s important to realize that these are general guidelines, everyone is different & everyone has different goals. So, don’t adhere to rigid schedule, just pay attention to how you feel during your workout and to your overall performance. Let your experience guide you on which pre- and post-exercise eating habits work best for you. Consider keeping a journal to monitor how your body reacts to meals and snacks so that you can adjust your diet for optimal performance.

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