Food is the primitive source of nutrition for the human body. We need to eat right so as to perform our daily activities efficiently, without any struggle. Workouts are intense sessions that demand excess energy. Metabolism of the body is escalated to many folds during workout sessions, as a result of which the body utilizes more fuel (food). We should supplement the body with its needed fuel, so as to not feel exhausted and to avoid starving the cells.
Though it is important to eat well during workouts, it is equally important to eat responsibly. We cannot eat whatever we want and expect good results after the workout session. It is important that we take food rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals and refrain from taking excess carbohydrates and fats.
Food and nutrition is an art and science. Some food when taken before a workout is absorbed better by the body. And some foods when taken after the work out will help in repairing cell and tissue damage. If food is consumed appropriately and responsibly, it can do wonders for the body. Similarly, random, mandatory and irresponsible eating will result in obesity and diminish the good effects of working out as well. Let us discuss what food you should eat before, during and after your workouts.
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Wonder foods to consume before workout
Workouts are intense sessions that demands you to expel much energy and sweat. It is thus mandatory to fuel you up before the activity as you can’t drive a car for long with an empty tank. Hydrate your body with ample water at least an hour before the exercise session. Consume whole-grain cereals, milk proteins, yogurt that is free of fat, brown rice and a lot of fruits and veggies.
It is important to avoid foods rich in saturated fat and even too much protein as our body will find it difficult to digest and they will have a prolonged gut retention time. It will be much appropriate to consume foods that digest easily, so as to avoid being sluggish.
Not taking enough calories before a workout can make you feel lethargic, sluggish and even lightheaded at times. But if you are planning for an early morning workout and you don’t have much time for a detailed meal, then you can grab some of these superfoods ten minutes before your workout.
Bananas – These are packed with potassium and easy to digest carbs that will help fuel your muscles, before teasing them.
Yogurt – Yogurt that is free from fat can be an excellent source of proteins and natural carbs.
Eggs – These are simple and easy to cook and are protein bombers.
What to eat during a workout session?
It is natural to feel tired and fatigued during workout sessions, as you are putting your muscles and your internal organs to work more. Cardiac output increases, respiratory rate increases and you also sweat a lot during the workout session. Your body needs some nutrition to sustain the moment and craves nutrition during your workout as well. You have to hydrate yourself adequately and if your session goes beyond 30 minutes, it is important that you keep water and energy drinks handy. Apart from liquids, you can consider the following foods handy during a workout.
Apples – These wonder fruits can supplement the muscle with instant glucose.
Fruit juices – Juices are easily digested and also help in hydrating the body.
Raisins and nuts – These are low carb and low-fat foods that help in supplementing about 50-100 calories during the workout.
For those who exercise less than an hour, say for 30 or 40 minutes it is not mandatory to eat during the workout session. But for those who are exercising for an hour or more and are indulged in high-intensity workouts, it is okay to consume low-calorie food for every half an hour to keep the system nourished and hydrated. Solid foods are not recommended during the workout time as they will sit in the stomach and will take a long time to get eliminated from the gut.
Foods to eat after the workout session
The primary goal after the workout will be to refuel the system. In order to replenish the muscles that have just lost their glycogen sources, it is important to consume carbohydrates and proteins in fixed proportions. Since most people feel exhausted and tired after workouts, they should not overeat and satisfy their satiety, as overeating will deplete the very intention of exercising.
One gram of carbohydrate per kg body weight and 15 grams of proteins in the first hour of exercise is enough to restore the muscle of their glucose deposits. Concentrate on a well-balanced diet, rich in proteins and carbohydrates and low in fats and drink plenty of water and fluids to rehydrate the system. Some recommendations for a post-workout meal can be
Fish and chicken – You are allowed to consume fish and chicken and lean meat in small portions after the workout to help yourself with a good deal of proteins.
Fruits and vegetables – consume lots of vegetables and fruits for the rest of the day to help energize the system.
Eggs and milk – Both these foods are rich in proteins. You need to consume a lot of proteins to repair your muscles and alleviate muscle fatigue.
Protein shakes – The complex amino acids in these protein powders will pamper the muscles much well.
Though we workout and follow a fixed exercise regimen to burn calories, it doesn’t necessarily mean we have to starve our system of energy. It is important to feed the muscles with calories and then burn the excess and accumulated fat in the gym. We have to supply the daily recommended allowance of proteins and carbohydrates and even fats to our body to help it work efficiently. Depriving it of its essential nutrients will result in the accumulation of ketones, which are toxins our body will struggle to excrete later on. We hope our guide throws due to focus on the need for nutrition during workouts and what you should take during, before and after your workout session.