There have been long studies about exercising and workouts. Scientists have known for a long time about what can you eat before, during or after a workout can possibly affect your fitness routine and results. Furthermore, according to nutritionists, quality carbohydrates are important for pre-workout and lean proteins are necessary for post workout.
Diet Plan You should follow
Now let’s break it down, before you exercise, it good to eat carbs but how about something specific?
- Morning Breakfast
If you are an early bird then you probably be exercising in the morning. But wait. It’s important to eat a healthy breakfast before a workout. You might feel sluggish or lightheaded if you work out before breakfast without eating anything. For better results, have a healthy breakfast an hour before you work out. It’s better to eat something or drink something like a sports drink that has carbohydrates for maximum energy. Good & healthy breakfast options include
- A pancake
- Whole-grain cereals or bread
- A Banana
- Low-Fat milk
If you like to have coffee in the mornings, a cup before a workout is ok. If you try a food or drink for the first time before a workout you may get an upset stomach.
- Meal Size Matters
Remember to eat before breakfast, but don’t overdo it. Here is a guideline suggestion for meals
- Large, Full meals
If you eat large meals it better to eat at least about 3 to 4 hours before exercising.
- Snacks, Treats or Small Meals
Having snacks before or during exercise is a good idea. You can eat these about 1 to 3 hours before exercising. Just remember one thing, eating too much before exercising can leave you languid or sluggish. Eating too little will drain your energy during your workout.
- Refreshments or Snacks
Most people who work out, eat snacks before and during the exercise to replenish the energy. The point, however, is how do you feel after eating? All refreshment or snacks that were taken just before exercise probably won’t give you much energy if your workout is less than 60 minutes. If your workout is more than 60 minutes, however, you may benefit from snacks especially if refreshments are rich in carbohydrates. The best options for good snacks or refreshments are:
- An energy bar (for quick energy like in action games)
- A banana, apple or other fresh fruit (excluding fruits that can upset your stomach)
- Yogurt (can use fresh fruit yogurt without sugar)
- Fruit smoothie (preferably homemade)
- A whole-grain bagel or crackers (sugar-free oatmeal cookies with resin is a good option)
- Low-Fat granola or crackers or bar
- Peanut butter sandwich (can use almond butter if you don’t eat peanut butter)
- A sports drink or diluted juice (some gyms recommend this)
- After Exercise Recovery
Many gym trainers and experts say that to recover your muscles after an exercise, a healthy meal is needed, especially carbohydrates and proteins, possibly within 2 hours of your workout session. There are actually no recommendations for that but according to some nutritionists, post-workout foods include:
- Fruit and yogurt (possibly mixture of both)
- Peanut butter sandwich (not with jelly and you can use almond butter or plain unsalted butter)
- Low-fat chocolate milk and pretzels
- Post workout recovery smoothies (you can find some recipes online)
- Turkey on whole-grain bread with vegetables (some say you can use chicken too)
- Hard-boiled eggs (one egg has about 6 grams of protein.)
- Drinking Water
Before, during or even after a workout, it’s ok to drink water. You should be hydrated enough to keep up with your exercise routine but don’t drink so much that you can keep it down. According to ACSM, American College of Sports Medicine:
- During a 2 to 3 hours before your workout during roughly 2 to 3 cups (about 473 to 710 milliliters) of water.
- During workouts, drink 1/2 to 1 cup (118 to 237 ml) of water every 15 to 20 minutes. Based on your body size and whether you can drink more water if needed.
- After a workout, you need to drink water to keep yourself hydrated. Roughly 2 to 3 cups (473 ml to 710 ml) is needed for every pound (0.5 kilograms) of weight lost during your workout.
If you have worked out for over 60 minutes, you can use a sports drink to replenish lost fluids. Since sports drinks help to recover your body’s electrolytes balance, it can give you a bit more energy as they also contain carbohydrates.
Sharing the Experience
In or after a workout, you can take advice or tips from your trainer about the drink you should have. In my experience, my trainer told me about berry smoothie that was rich in electrolytes. All you need for that smoothie is:
- 6 oz. or 170 grams of whole Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of gelatin (dissolved in warm water) – optional
- 4-6 cubes of ice.
- 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons or 1 fluid ounce) of water or milk
- 1/4 banana
- 3 to 4 strawberries
- 1-2 teaspoon coconut palm sugar (or any sweetener of your choice)
- 1/8 cup of wild blueberries
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serve as you like.
- Serving size: 12 ounces (about 354 ml)
- Calories: 398.1
- Fat: 17.5g
- Carbohydrates: 17.3g
- Protein: 17.9g
Not everyone’s body is the same, most of us have a different response to exercise and diet we eat during work our days. For this reason, see which diet suits you and stick with it. Seek assistance from your local trainer if necessary. Stay healthy and fit.