WHAT TO EAT BEFORE AND AFTER A WORKOUT?
Set your body up for success with the necessary nutrition. Just as it needs good food to function day-to-day, it also needs the right nutrients to recover from work you’re putting it through.
While we understand the importance of training hard, we do not always make a conscious effort to properly balance post-workout fatigue. The last thing you want is to push your body to the point of no return. Post-workout fatigue is often accompanied by muscle soreness, which is simply a sign that muscle tissue is damaged and will need to be repaired to become stronger and bigger.
Energy comes in the form of calories.The food you eat determines how much energy your body uses and stores.
How do you start restoring the nutrients you’ve just used?
The goal is to focus on protein and carbohydrates.These macronutrients are particularly beneficial in helping our body restore glycogen stores, decrease muscle protein breakdown, and increase muscle growth.
Protein provides the body with branch chain amino acids or BCAAs, which are the building blocks of muscle.
Carbohydrates are the body’s most efficient source of energy, because our bodies convert carbs to glucose for immediate energy.This is important to know because the energy we have available, as well as the amount stored, determines how we'll perform in the workout.When the body does not have enough energy to supply the entire workout, it begins to search for it elsewhere. Particularly in places where it shouldn’t, like muscle.
I like to have a solid meal 2-3 hours before my workout. It takes time for our body to digest food and have it readily available for energy. This time frame ensures the body has not only digested the meal but also has enough stored glycogen in the muscles for full strength potential.
If you prefer to get your training first thing in the morning after a night of fasting, go for it. But I highly encourage you to consume protein right after you hit the gym, otherwise your body won’t have enough energy to take care of itself after a workout.
Post-workout nutrition is just as vital as our pre-workout.
When we work out intensely (regardless of the chosen mode of exercise), we damage muscle tissue at the microlevel, and we burn out our fuel.This is what ultimately makes us stronger, leaner, fitter, and more muscular, but in the short term it requires repair.
What to eat/drink:
✭Green tea: abundant in anti-inflammatory antioxidants making it the ideal pre- or post-workout drink to prevent muscle and cell damage related to exercise.
✭Bananas: dehydration and sweating can reduce your potassium levels and trigger muscle cramps. You can add a bit of peanut butter to get a nice ratio of carbs and protein.
✭Cacao: high levels of antioxidants, magnesium, and B-vitamins to reduce body fatigue, balance electrolytes, and boost energy levels.
✭Turmeric: help reduce inflammation, soreness, and help repair your muscles.
✭Nuts & Seeds: provide essential omega-3 fatty acids to fight inflammation, protein to enhance muscle repair and growth, electrolytes for adequate hydration, and zinc to boost immunity.
✭Sweet potatoes: complex and packed with extra nutrients.
✭Spinach: loaded with magnesium, which helps to keep muscle and nerve functions normal.
✭Salmon: another option for omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein.
✭Eggs: great option to boost recovery and deliver loads of protein in a compact package.
✭Whole-grain bread: the carbs needed to boost those glycogen levels. Add almond butter for a nice ratio of protein and carbohydrates to maximize your recovery nutrition
Once you achieve a balance between the right amount of workout and recovery nutrients, then you will achieve your goals and experience the right amount of post-workout fatigue. All while maintaining a well-balanced diet with sufficient energy levels.
Stock your fridge and pantry with the right ingredients, and start feeling the difference!