There is no doubt that working out regularly will help you stay fit and healthy. However, you can optimize the effects of your workouts by carefully selecting the foods you consume before and after your workout session.
A pre-workout meal ensures you have the energy to get through the reps without experiencing fatigue. As a result, you can even perform an additional rep. Similarly, a post-workout meal ensures your body gets the nutrients required to hasten the repair of muscles and facilitate quick recovery. Both pre- and post-workout meals are important to your fitness goals. Otherwise, you will fall short of meeting those goals.
What is Pre-Workout Meal?
A pre-workout meal is the last meal that you will eat before you go out for a workout. It provides energy for the strenuous activities that you will be carrying out during your workout. The purpose of the meal is to help reduce protein breakdown and proper reduction of body’s cortisol level post workout. Working out regularly on an empty stomach can also cause muscle loss and make you feel fatigued because when you are hungry, your body generates energy by burning muscle tissues which can cause muscle loss. It is important to eat a right mix of carbs and protein in your pre-workout meals. But do not eat a big meal before your training session as it will lead to poor digestion.
Pre-workout Foods to Eat
Eating a banana with ½ cup of Greek yogurt at least an hour before the workout is a great way to fuel up your body. Bananas are a rich source of digestible carbohydrates, potassium and fiber. Experts suggest to eating a medium sized banana to enhance your workout experience. It provides steady energy during the exercise.
Oats are a rich source of fiber, protein and slow digesting carbohydrates. Oats release carbs slowly into the bloodstream, which keeps your energy level consistent during the workout. Eat a small serving of oats with almond milk to make it easily digestible. Oats release carbs into your bloodstream at a slow and steady pace. Hence, it helps the body to draw energy consistently throughout the workout.
Another diet of all the essential nutrients that you can undertake is the nuts and the almonds. Nuts have the ability to provide instant energy to the body which in a way will enhance the growth and can provide you a great support for your workout regime.
Raw nuts are great pre-workout snacks with essential nutrients like vitamin E, magnesium, fiber, protein and healthy fats. Nuts supply steady energy and help you keep satisfied throughout the workout. Eat a handful of nuts 1 hour before starting your workout.
Hard Boiled Eggs that are a rich source of high-quality protein help in the additional energy required during your workout session. Along with it if you happen to eat two slices of whole wheat toast will simply work wonders over your diet. Eat eggs 30-60 minutes before your workout session because eggs are heavy and take a longer time to digest.
Caffeine mobilizes the fat cells easily into the bloodstream and can instantly provide you with the muscle strength. It can increase and enhance the intensity when you consume it before your workout. According to Sports Medicine, caffeine increases athletic performance and helps you to train longer. A Research done at the University of Illinois indicated that people who consumed coffee before the workout, experienced less muscle pain during exercise compared to those who don’t.
What is Post Workout Meal?
A post workout meal is the first meal that you will consume after carrying out the workout. This meal is vital because after a workout your body goes into recovery and muscle building phase. This meal too should include protein and carbs to help build muscle, reduce cortisol level and supply muscle with glycogen, which is lost during exercise. As soon as your workout is over, your body requires proper nutrition to recover. Therefore, you should eat your post-workout meal within 30 minutes after your workout.
Post Workout Foods to Eat
Low-Fat Greek Yogurt
Low-Fat Greek yogurt is packed with protein, almost double amount of protein compared to regular yogurt and some carbohydrate. Protein helps repair muscle tissues and carbohydrates help restore energy level after your training session. You can add fruits such as berries or banana to make it a perfect post-workout meal. A balance of protein and carbs will regain your energy.
Whey Protein Shake
If you are too busy or tired to prepare a meal after an intense workout, then whey protein shake is the best option for you to grab instant energy. Whey protein shake digests quicker than solid foods letting your body fulfill its requirement for protein instantly. Research showed that subjects who consumed whey protein one hour prior and after exercises experienced a greater increase in muscle strength and fat-free mass. A protein shake made with 1-2 scoops of whey powder in almond milk with half a banana is an excellent source of energy.
Whole-Grain Cereal and low-fat milk
Whole-Grain Cereal and milk is not just a healthy breakfast meal. It is also a perfect snack for revitalizing muscle and restore energy after exercise. Whole-grain cereal offers protein and carbs and low-fat milk contains easily digestible whey protein. Research done on a group of male and female athletes showed that consuming whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk is as good as an expensive sports drink for muscle recovery after a workout.
Eating Sweet potatoes after a workout session boosts energy level. They are easy to cook and have many health benefits. They are rich in fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and complex carbs. After the workout the glycogen level in the body drops, the complex carbs in sweet potatoes help restore glycogen level in the body. Moreover, magnesium and potassium help relieve cramps and prevent muscle spasm.
Fruits supply carbohydrates, which provide a good source of energy to the tired muscles. It is essential that you get relieved from the post workout syndrome in a fraction of minutes. Pineapple has anti-inflammatory properties that help in the recovering of the muscles. Similarly, kiwi works towards smooth digestion process and the breaking of the amino acids in the body. Apart from that, the fruits are a rich source of antioxidants that will enable you to feel energetic.