Exercise: Fuel Your Body Before and After
Consuming the accurate type of nutrients after you exercise is equally important as what you eat before. Fueling your fitness with the proper nutrition will help maximize the benefits of all your hard work at the gym. Confused about which types of foods to eat? Here is a quick guide to the ideal nutrients to consume to help you feel healthier, perform better and reach your fitness potential.
Pre-Workout: Repeat this mantra, “Carbs are good!” Carbohydrates often intimidate us when in reality they are essential to the body. Before a workout, it's good to eat simple carbohydrates because they are digested fast and provide quick energy. The body breaks carbohydrates into glucose when they enter our muscle cells; providing fuel to exercise at our maximum capacity. Along with carbs, it is best to consume a little bit of protein before your workout. Protein helps muscles heal and grow stronger. Finally: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! It is important to continuously hydrate your body with water from when you wake up until you go to bed. Everybody is different; however, studies recommend having a 100-150 calorie snack 30 minutes to an hour before your workout or working out 2 to 3 hours after a well-balanced meal.
Post-Workout: You just worked out and not only are you tired, but you’re probably ready to eat anything in sight. Take a breath, drink some water and get to eating (nourishing foods of course!). It is essential to eat soon after your workout. Although the timing does not need to be exact, many experts recommend eating your post-workout meal within 45 minutes. The post-workout meal is vital to replenishing the glycogen that has been depleted during exercise; eating protein after a workout is a must for speedy muscle recovery. Don’t forget to hydrate as it is key for a healthy body. Simply put, it is particularly important to drink water and eat carbs and proteins with some fat after your workout.
Need help preparing foods before your workout? Try these quick and easy meals. Fruit and Kale Smoothie
- Banana, apple, orange, etc.
- Apple with nut butter
- Greek yogurt and trail mix
- Protein bar
- Oatmeal with fresh fruit
- Whole wheat toast, banana, cinnamon
- Whole grain cereal and milk
Need help preparing foods after your workout? Try these quick and easy meals.
- Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables
- Cottage cheese and fruits
- Egg omelet with avocado spread on toast
- Pita and hummus
- Salmon with sweet potato
- Protein shake and banana
- Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread
- Quinoa bowl with berries and pecans
Written by: Leigh Hullett, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern