Eating and exercise go hand in hand. You need to eat right to get the most from your workout, and you need to workout to get the most from your healthy eating. It’s an endless cycle that requires lot of dedication, hard work and effort to get it right.
It might sound hard, but it can be done – and I’m here to help.
The Bottom Line
There’s no point in working out if you’re not going to fuel your body with the proper foods both before and after. For one, you won’t have the endurance, energy and stamina you need to go full-force. You’ll end up cutting corners, slowing down your pace and getting winded in just matter of minutes.
Secondly, you won’t be able to build up muscle during your work, and your muscles will have a harder time recovering once you’re down. Now for a woman, this might not sound like a such a bad thing. You don’t really want to build up muscle or look bulky, right?
Well building up muscle doesn’t have to mean you look bulky or manly. Instead, you build up long, lean muscle that makes you look thin, strong and svelte. Plus, the more muscle you have, the more calories your body is able to burn at rest. And that means you can lose weight faster and easier than ever!
So here’s the moral of the story: 1) you should be trying to gain muscle with your workouts and 2) you should be fueling your workouts with the proper foods and nutrients every day.
What Fuel Do you Need?
You need to fuel your body with foods that will make your workout harder – ones that will give you energy and stamina and keep you going for your entire run or bike ride. As an added bonus, eating the right foods before your work can help prevent low blood sugar (which causes fatigue and light headedness).
You can’t eat just any food before a workout, though. Eating too much – or eating the wrong thing – could actually make things worse. It can weigh you down, make you feel sluggish and even lead to cramping. Things like bread, sugary cereals and calorie-laden power bars probably aren’t your best bet.
The ideal choices for pre-workout food are:
- Bananas – Bananas have tons of digestible carbohydrates, which your body easily turns into energy and fuel. They can boost nerve and muscle function and make your workout even easier to tackle. One medium banana, along with some form of protein, is the perfect choice.
- Oats – Fiber is a great option before hitting the gym, and oats are full of them. They slowly release carbohydrates into your bloodstream (ie, energy!), and keep you going for hours at a time. As an added bonus, oats also contain several B vitamins, which helps your body even better convert carbs into energy. It’s a win-win!
- Fruit – Fruit or fruit smoothies are another awesome choice for a pre-workout meal. They’re digested quickly, allowing you to get the instant energy boost you need before hitting the gym. Try blending 1 cup of fruit, 1 cup of water or coconut water and ½ Greek yogurt or you can add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds or flaxseeds.
Don’t forget to eat after your workout, too. Your body needs a healthy dose of protein in order to help your muscles recover, so opt for things like: apples dipped in homemade almond or peanut butter, cucumbers and hummus, a handful of trail mix (no candy in it!) or a half-cup of Greek yogurt with some fresh berries. Eggs are also a great source of protein, if you feel like cooking one up or boiling one after your workout.
Be sure to hydrate after your workout, too. To get the most from your efforts, your body should be hydrated at all times. Try to drink at least a cup before, after and during your workout for best results.
Start Fueling Your Body Today
If you’re working out, but not paying attention to your pre- and post-workout foods, you’re just wasting your time. If you really want to see results from your workouts, start putting some time and effort into fueling your body.
Add healthy pre- and post-workout foods to your grocery list, and plan out what you’re going to eat each day. Then, prepare your pre- and post-workout meals early in the week, and store them in Tupperware containers in the fridge. Then, when it’s time to hit the gym, pull one out chow down, and hit the road. It will make things infinitely easier (and more effective) in the long run.
Do you make an effort to eat the right foods before and after a workout? What are your favorite things to eat? Let me know in the comments!
Remember to share this article with all your loved ones, so that they can also benefit from this wonderful information.
Together we can make this world a happier, healthier world!