If you are going to work out, no matter what the workout is, you need to know what to eat before and after in order to achieve maximum results. Even though you may be tempted to skip the calories, DON’T. Not eating before a workout can result in low blood sugar, which leads to light-headedness and fatigue, which means that your workout isn’t going to be good and you may risk injury. You need to eat BOTH before and after.
Before a workout you need to focus on eating foods that will increase your energy and pump you with nutrients. This means carbohydrates people! Don’t be scared of carbs, you need them! Low-carb diets are ridiculous and harmful to your body. Pre and post workout meals are SUPER important. Now that we got that out of the way… some foods that you should eat within one hour of your workout are:
Bananas: otherwise known as “nature’s power bar”. Bananas are PACKED with healthy carbohydrates and are potassium, which helps with muscle function. The body doesn’t store potassium for very long, so a medium banana before a workout will help keep nutrient levels high.
Oatmeal: one cup of oatmeal 30 minutes before your workout will give you the energy bump you need. Because they are full of fiber, they gradually release carbohydrates into your bloodstream which will keep your energy levels consistent during your workout and lowers the change of fatigue and crash. Oats also contain B vitamins which help convert carbohydrates into energy. High energy and no crash?! Mix me up a cup.
Fruit and Yogurt: This is the perfect pre-workout combo because fruit is high in carbohydrates and Greek yogurt is packed with high-quality protein. The carbs are great for energy stabilization and even though the protein won’t break down fast enough to become fuel for a workout, it will be used later for muscle damage prevention.
Add an energy bump: Looking for an extra little something to improve your energy, endurance, strength, and focus with this a pre-workout drink. This one’s proprietary blend of advanced nitric oxide boosters, amino acids, natural energizers, electrolytes, and essential B vitamins can help you power through and maximize your workouts. My husband and daughter SWEAR by this stuff.
What NOT to eat: If you choose not to eat the things on this list make sure you pay attention to what NOT to eat. Avoid fatty foods before working out. You shouldn’t avoid fat all day, obviously, but fat leaves the stomach very slowly, which means eating it before a workout will make you feel full and sluggish, and could lead you to cramp up easily. Another thing you shouldn’t eat are carbohydrates from raw sugar and candy. Carbs in this form will cause a sugar rush, then crash while you are mid-workout. Whatever you eat, don’t overeat before you workout. You should only have a snack an hour before a workout, not a meal. Eating a full meal can cause indigestion, sluggishness, nausea and vomiting.
Now, we are focusing on protein. It’s meal time baby!
Chicken and rice: Chicken is an excellent source of protein and other important nutrients like niacin, a B vitamin. Right after a workout, it’s good to have white rice instead of brown, due to it’s high glycemic properties. These foods will replenish your muscles with glucose more rapidly. Add steamed veggies for additional flavor and nutrients.
Protein/super food shake: this no caffeine, no artificial sweetener, no artificial flavor, no refined sugar super food shake is the perfect post workout shake. It is packed with nutrients to help replenish your body after a workout.
Salmon: salmon is an ideal source of protein packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Serve this with steamed veggies and rice to complete the meal. Not only is this a perfect post workout meal, this protein-rich meal, along with fiber from vegetables and rice, will keep you satisfied to help avoid late-night munching.
It is important to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to repair your muscles after a strenuous workout. It is also important to keep your body healthy and strong so you can continue to workout without compromising your day-to-day function.