PLANNING YOUR WORKOUT FOODS
Planning what to eat before, during, and after exercise can help improve your performance and recovery. carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, so eating carbohydrate-rich foods before exercise can help you sustain your effort. Protein helps to repair and rebuild muscles, so it’s important to consume enough protein after exercise. Fat isn’t generally recommended before or during exercise, as it can slow down digestion. However, including some fat in post-exercise meals can be a good choice, as it helps to slow the release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream and provides a longer-lasting source of energy. Fibre is another nutrient that is important for both pre- and post-exercise meals, as it helps to keep you feeling full and provides essential nutrients for gut health. Limit fibre before and during exercise, as it will slow digestion and cause some gastrointestinal discomfort during exercise. Finally, hydration is crucial before, during, and after exercise. Water is the best choice for hydration but adding electrolytes to your fluids can also be helpful, especially if you are exercising in hot or humid conditions.
SHOULD YOU HAVE SUPPLEMENTS?
Food should be the foundation of your pre-, during-, and post-exercise nutrition plan. However, supplements can sometimes be helpful in meeting your nutrient needs. For example, carbohydrate supplements can be a convenient way to consume carbohydrates without having to eat solid foods if you are exercising for a long period of time. Protein supplements can also be useful for people who struggle to meet their protein needs through diet alone. However, it’s important to speak with a registered dietitian before starting any supplement regimen, as supplements are not necessary for everyone and can interact with medications or other supplements you may be taking.
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Getting the right nutrition in your body at the right times can make all the difference and improve the quality of your workouts
It’s important to fuel up before working out, especially if you’re going to be doing something strenuous. A mix of carbohydrates and protein is a good option, and you should aim to eat this meal about an hour before starting your workout. Examples of pre-workout meals include oatmeal with fruit, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a chicken and rice dish.
If you’re exercising for more than an hour, it’s important to replenish your energy stores by eating or drinking carbohydrates. This will help you maintain your performance and avoid hitting the wall. Sports drinks are a good option for carbohydrates, as they also contain electrolytes, which are important for keeping your body hydrated.
After you’ve finished working out, it’s time to refuel your body with a mix of carbohydrates and protein. This will help your muscles recover and rebuild after being worked hard. A good post-workout meal might be some grilled chicken with rice and vegetables, or a fruit smoothie with Greek yogurt.