Exercising is not only about losing weight. Regular exercise can also help speed up your metabolism, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it can reduce your stress, improve your energy, mood, and sleep. Most of the people think that the exercising hard and waiting for the mealtime to eat healthily is probably the best way to lose the extra pounds. However, the key to maintaining a perfect body is not only the exercise but also eating the right foods at the right times. Let us discuss the importance of eating before and after your exercise. Here we are providing you with a perfect guide to workout nutrition and some of the foods to eat before and after workout.
Why Eating Before Workout is Important?
We all need the energy to exercise. Research shows that our body burns the same amount of fat even if we do not eat or eat before exercise. The reason is when you are hungry, your body looks for protein from muscles instead of your liver and kidneys. This results in a loss of muscle mass and your metabolism gets slow. Try to include proteins and carbohydrates in your pre-workout meal to turn your body into a fat-burning powerhouse. Try to have your pre-workout meal 1-3 hours before hitting the gym. Eating immediately before a workout may cause gastrointestinal discomfort and lead your muscles and stomach to compete with each other while doing their individual tasks.
What to Eat Before a Workout?
- A smoothie with 1 cup of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables.
- 1 or 2 rice cakes topped with nut butter.
- ¾ cup of Greek yogurt with ½ cup of berries and 1 tablespoon granola.
- Oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruits.
- An apple or pear with almond or peanut butter.
- Fresh strawberry parfait with cottage cheese.
- Toast with hardboiled egg and avocado.
- Toast topped with peanut butter, banana, and chia seeds.
- Tzatziki Greek yogurt chicken salad.
- Homemade protein bars
- Brown rice with lean protein and roasted vegetables.
- Greek yogurt and trail mix.
- Blend bananas, blueberries, almond milk, and yogurt to make a rich smoothie.
- Chicken, sweet potato, and green beans.
Why Eating After Workout is Important?
It is very important to eat after exercise to replenish the glycogen that has been depleted during a workout session. A protein-based post-workout meal can help in recovering your muscles, especially after weight training exercise. Try to have at least a healthy snack within 20-60 minutes soon after the workout to refill the energy stores. You need to rehydrate your body as soon as possible after a workout. You can also bring a recovery drink to your gym. Studies show that eating after 2 hours of exercising can decrease your body’s ability to refill the muscle stores by 50%.
What to Eat After a Workout?
- A protein-rich green smoothie with 2 cups of kale, 1 cup of frozen fruit, ¾ cup of Greek yogurt, ½ cup of tofu, 2 tablespoons nut butter.
- Turkey on a whole grain wrap with veggies.
- One 7-inch round whole wheat pita stuffed with grilled vegetables and 2 tablespoons of hummus.
- 4-ounces of steamed trout with baked sweet potato and sautéed spinach.
- Vegetable omelet with ½ cup roasted potato and avocado.
- Grilled chicken and mixed vegetables.
- Low-fat chocolate milk.
- Caramel and peanut protein bar.
- Orange and mango smoothie
- Chicken pasta with butternut squash, caramelized onions, and tart cherries.
- Toast topped with tuna and avocado salad.
- Chocolate protein shake with peanut butter.
- Rice cakes with banana, nut butter, cacao nibs, and crumbled sea salt potato chips.
- Spinach and egg white omelet.
- Hardboiled eggs with carrot sticks and nuts.
- Scrambled egg with sweet potato and avocado.
These are some of the foods to eat before and after workout. The bottom line is that your body needs protein to help repair and rebuild and carbohydrates are important for fueling your working muscles. Therefore, try getting a combination of carbohydrates and protein 1-3 hours before workout and within 20 minutes post-workout.