Your body is your vehicle, so you have to keep your engine running. That means fueling up your body by eating the right foods and drinking the right fluids, in the right amounts at the right times, is really important.
The American College of Sports Medicine says, “Adequate food and fluid should be consumed before, during, and after exercise, which help to 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.”
What to eat before and after Exercise?
Before work out
Ideally, fuel up your body two hours before you exercise by:
- Hydrating with water
- Eating healthy carbohydrates such as whole-grain cereals with skimmed milk, whole-wheat bread, oats, low-fat yogurt, whole grain pasta, brown rice, fruits and vegetables.
- Avoiding saturated fats
If you only have 5-10 minutes before you exercise, eat a piece of fruit such as an apple or banana.
After your workout
You put a lot of effort into your workouts, always looking to perform better and reach your goals. Chances are you’ve given more thought to your pre-workout meal than your post-workout meal. Consuming the right nutrients after you exercise is just as important as what you eat before. The primary goal of your post-workout meal is to supply your body with the right nutrients for adequate recovery and to maximize the benefits of your workout. Choosing easily digested foods will promote faster nutrient absorption.
- Make sure to drink plenty of water
- 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 : Protein help to repair and grow your muscles.
Why Is Eating Post Workout Important?
When you workout, glycogen (glucose stored in muscles) is used up as a source of energy. The repeated contraction of the muscles also leads to muscle fiber wear and tear. That’s why, right after working out, your muscles feel weak, and you feel like resting for a while. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you have no energy and need to refuel. This is precisely why you need to eat after working out. The nutrients from the good foods will help in the following ways:
- Restock the glycogen stores.
- Help the muscles recover from wear and tear.
- Build more muscle.
- Reduce muscle protein breakdown.
Foods to Eat After Workout
The following lists contain examples of simple and easily digested foods:
- Sweet potatoes
- Fruits (pineapple, apple berries, banana, kiwi)
- Finger millet
- Whole wheat Pasta
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Animal- or plant-based protein powder
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Protein bar
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut butters
- Trail mix (dried fruits and nuts)
(Also read –> BANANA – TO BUILD MUSCLES)
Sample Post Workout Food
Here are a few examples of quick and easy meals to eat after your workout:
- Egg omelet with avocado spread on toast
- Salmon with sweet potato
- Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread
- Tuna and crackers
- Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables
- Oatmeal, whey protein, banana and almonds
- Cottage cheese and fruits
- Pita and hummus
- Sattu drink and banana
- Rice crackers and peanut butter
- Whole grain toast and almond butter
- Cereal and skim milk
- Finger millet porridge with nuts and banana
- Greek yogurt, berries and granola
- Protein shake and banana
- Quinoa bowl with berries and nuts
- Multi-grain bread and raw peanuts