We now understand food and beverage choices are important in our daily lives, macronutrients and micronutrients are essential on a daily basis, and getting the right amount of food is vital to fuel our bodies. However, what you eat before, during, and after a workout is even more crucial to help your body sustain the intensity it needs to perform at, as well as ensure sufficient recovery afterward. Think of your body as a machine, it not only needs fuel to work but more importantly it needs the correct type and amount of fuel to keep it going.
In order to maximize your exercise benefits, it is vital to fuel your body with proper nutrients before you begin. Approximately between 30 minutes and three hours before your workout consider:
- Eating simple carbohydrates that will provide your body with the energy it needs to maximize your workout. Example: a granola bar, fruit, whole-grain bread, or brown rice.
- Including a little bit of protein, especially when weight training will be beneficial. Choose sources that do not take long to digest. Example: a hardboiled egg or nuts.
- Hydrate by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
While there is much emphasis on the nutrients to consume before and after partaking in an exercise, it is also important to focus on your nutrient intake during the exercise.
- Sipping on water while exercising will keep the body hydrated while it sweats.
- Also, to prevent sugar levels from dropping, keep a small snack like a banana or raisins on hand.
Once you have completed your workout make sure you replenish your body to replace the calories you burned and help your muscles recover. The ideal time to refuel would be within 30 minutes of your workout.
- Consuming complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, fruits and vegetables will replenish glycogen stores.
- Refuel with protein to help repair and grow your muscles. Example: fish, poultry, peanut butter, and nuts.
- Rehydrate and continue to do so for the remainder of the day.
*While different forms of exercises exist, so do personal experiences. What people do with their bodies through exercising and what they put in it via nutrition, may contrast. As a result, it is essential to know what works best for you!