Looking to maximize your workout? Follow these steps to best nourish your body before working out and to launch recovery mode after a great workout.
Step 1: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Although it seems like a simple task, it is absolutely essential! The body needs to be hydrated in order to process calories and have energy available for use. Without being hydrated, there is little your body can do to produce fuel.
Step 2: Pre-Workout Snack
The main goal of your pre-workout meal is to provide energy for your muscles to use. When it comes to fueling your body, timing, and consistency of your meal are the two most important things to focus on. So the best advice is to consume foods that are easy to digest and to allow the proper amount of time to digest.
What Should I be Eating?
Eat foods that your body will easily digest! You want to provide your body with energy, not waste energy trying to break down elaborate or unfamiliar foods. If your stomach is struggling to digest a specific food, then it is often trapped in your stomach and your muscles won’t have access to the potential energy. So keep it simple and avoid foods high in fat! Eat quality carbohydrates and some protein to energize your body. Some recommended carbohydrates include whole-wheat items, oatmeal, fruits, and vegetables. Your body can process these foods efficiently and give you energy quick!
When Should I be Eating?
Timing your pre-workout snack is equally crucial to the consistency of it. Typically, it is ideal to give your body about 60 minutes, give or take, after eating to translate the food into energy for your use. If you prefer larger meals, give your body a little more time and if you prefer smaller snacks, less digestion time is needed. When you are on the go, a small banana 30 minutes before working out will do the trick!
Step 3: During Workout
It’s super basic: If you are exercising out for any hour or less, your pre-workout snack will get you through, and you do not need anything during your workout. If you are exercising for over an hour, it is a good idea to replenish your body with some carbs and amino acids, preferably in the liquid form. Drinking some watered down Gatorade or an alternative workout drink will give your body that extra push!
After the wear and tear on your body, it is key to replacing the energy you just used up and jump start your body’s recovery process. Once again, carbohydrates and amino acids are the names of the game. However, after exercising, your ratio of carbohydrates to protein should be 3 to 1. At this time, you want to take advantage of your body’s “metabolic window.” Eating closely after working out is best, but waiting up to about 90 minutes is acceptable. Some good ideas for post-workout food items include chocolate milk, a protein-packed sandwich, eggs, yogurt and granola, any kind of meat, fish, pita and hummus, whole wheat bagel with almond butter, fruit smoothies, whole grain rice, sauteed veggies, mashed potatoes, apples with peanut butter, and the list goes on. Keep in mind whole wheat alternatives are the best idea!
Following this eating regime with maximize your performance and make you that much closer to achieving the results you’re seeking!
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- Pre and Post Workout Snacks - March 28, 2013