Why it's important to eat the right foods before and after exercising
Have you ever gone to the gym and just felt like you had no energy? Or felt you aren't eating the appropriate foods afterwords? These issues can be caused by not having the right nutrition before and after a workout. So here are a few tips and tricks of what you should include in your diet if you are active regularly.
Before a workout
If you are expecting to exercise, you should plan to eat 1-2 hours before your workout. This will give the food time to digest and give your body time to absorb the nutrients. Before a workout, healthy carbohydrates are recommended to optimize your energy. Some foods to consider before a workout are:
- Bananas: Bananas provide potassium and natural sugars, which the body can use to increase blood sugar levels. Potassium is stored in the body for a limited amount of time, therefore eating a banana 30 minutes- an hour before a workout would be the most effective to improving a workout (https://www.myprotein.com/thezone/nutrition/pre-workout-foods/)
- Fruit Smoothie: Fruit smoothies are filled with nutrients with many health benefits, however they are also filled with sugars. Sugars act as a source of quick energy for the body, therefore providing fast-fuel for a gym workout.
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal is an ideal pre-workout meal. This meal is filled with carbohydrates and fiber, which will satisfy hunger and maintain a steady energy throughout a workout. Adding almonds for protein or fruit for antioxidants will also increase the benefit of this pre-workout meal (https://www.myprotein.com/thezone/nutrition/pre-workout-foods/).
After a workout
Eating 20-60 minutes after a workout is very important to replenish the nutrients lost during exercise. Proteins and healthy carbohydrates are imperative to eat afterwords, repairing muscle proteins (increasing growth), restoring blood sugar levels, and improving recovery. Foods to consider after a workout include:
- Chicken, Vegetables, and Rice: This meal is a great combination of lean protein and carbohydrates, which provides the body with amino acids and promotes muscle restoration and growth.
- Avocado Toast and Egg: Avocado toast and egg provides the body with protein, carbohydrates, and potassium. Avocado has many health benefits and is full of nutrition, including fiber and healthy fats that are necessary after a workout (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-proven-benefits-of-avocado#section).
- Apple Wedges and Peanut Butter: Apple wedges and peanut butter are a healthy and delicious snack filled with sugars and protein. This is a great post-workout food option to restore glucose levels and promote muscle growth.
It is very important to eat the correct foods before and after a workout, providing your body with necessary nutrients for exercise. These diet tips will help your energy levels and maximize your workout!
And remember to always stay hydrated!
-By Abigail Thurston, Dreissig Apparel Inc., Marketing Intern
*Abigail is not a dietary expert, these are all just tips and suggestions.*