Eating the right foods with your workout helps rebuild muscles, burn fat, and recover faster. Read all about what to eat before and after your workout.
Doing regular workouts and exercise helps improve your mood, relieve stress, and boost metabolism. It also helps to reduce the risk of diabetes or any cardiovascular disease and lose weight. But it is just as important to eat the right food during your pre-and post-workout sessions to maximize benefit.
Are you wondering what to eat before and after your workout? Or if it is necessary at all to think about it? A well-thought-out workout session starts with eating the right food, and fueling your body with the right food and fluids before and after your workout makes a huge difference.
Eating the right food at the right time, that is, before, during, and after your workout, determines your fitness goals. It will further help maintain your blood glucose level, maximize workout performance and improve your recovery time.
Here is the detailed guide to help you maximize the benefits of eating the right food before and after a workout session.
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How Does Food Help Fuel Your Workout Session?
People usually have this question when it comes to exercise and food. Should you eat before or after your workout session? It is a tough question to answer as eating before and after a workout is important.
Eating before a workout session provides energy and helps people maximize their performance. And eating just after the workout session helps in recovery.
It is important to eat the right kind of food rich in proteins and carbohydrates as it provides the right amount of nutrition the body needs during intense workout sessions. Having carbs helps provide energy, and proteins provide energy that helps repair and build muscles.
What To Eat Before Workout
Not eating before a workout session is like driving a car without fuel. A person will not have enough energy to maximize the benefit from a workout, and it also limits a person’s ability to burn more calories.
It is good to have a well-balanced diet, ideally two to three hours before your workout session. Generally, eating the right amount of carbs and proteins before exercise provides energy and helps build muscles.
Try to avoid foods rich in fats and fiber, such as cheese sandwiches and broccoli. It takes time to digest and can cause an upset stomach and cramping.
Let us look at how to eat before your workout session.
Time Your Pre-Workout Meal Right
Ideally, you should eat two to three hours before your workout session. This way, the food is well digested before you go to the gym and burn your calories well. You can look at what time frame works best for your body type.
If you usually work out in the morning, you may not have a complete meal. Instead, you can have a small snack or breakfast. You can have a smoothie 30 minutes before going to the gym. But if you are working out sometime later in the day, have a well-balanced diet before your workout.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Always keep your body hydrated and drink water before your workout session. It is advisable to drink two glasses of water at least three hours before a workout.
You can have a cup of water 20 minutes before your workout. Just make sure you are not dehydrated, as it can lower your energy and cause muscle cramps while working out.
Having Right Amount Of Carbohydrates
Eating carbs gives the energy to exercise and maximize performance. With low-fat milk, you can have some fruits, granola bars, oatmeal, rice cake, toast, or whole-grain cereals. Avoid having saturated fats that take time to digest and cause stomach cramps.
Don’t Forget To Add Some Proteins To Your Meal.
Having a little bit of protein is a good idea, especially during weight training exercises. While doing weight-lifting exercises creates tears in the muscle fibers. So when you rest, that protein intake helps repair and build muscles back much stronger.
You can have proteins that digest faster, like yogurt, nuts, boiled egg, or soy milk.
What If You Are Working Out Early Morning?
Suppose you have workout plans just after waking up in the morning; in that case, having a meal a few hours before your workout time is not an option. In the morning, a person’s blood sugar level is usually low. So eating a granola bar or a fruit may be enough to give you the boost.
Although it is essential to look at the intensity of your workout, if you are exercising just for 30 minutes in the morning, then you can even skip your pre-workout meal.
But if you are planning for an intense workout, you should have some snacks. If you want to grow and strengthen your muscles, you need to have some protein intake before working out.
Pre-Workout Snack Ideas
- A smoothie along with some fruits and vegetables.
- Yogurt with berries and granola.
- Granola bar
- Oatmeal with some fruit and peanut butter.
- Swiss-cheese sandwich with chocolate milk.
What To Eat Post-Workout?
After your workout, it is important to restore the energy in the body. The main goal of eating the right meal after the workout is to provide your body with the right nutrients to help you recover faster and maximize workout benefits.
Especially after weight-lifting sessions, it is important to have the right amount of proteins for faster recovery. Let us look at what to have after your workout sessions.
Rehydrate Your Body ASAP
Having fluids you may have lost while sweating during a workout is more important than eating right away. Having enough water after the workout depends on the length and intensity of the workout, a person’s physiology, and environmental factors.
Having Carbohydrates And Proteins
After your workout session, you should have a combination of carbs and proteins that breaks down slowly. Have carbs that include brown rice, nuts, whole-wheat bread, and quinoa.
You can have protein-rich food such as beans, fish, and tofu. Having egg and whole-wheat toast will put back the energy lost during the workout and even balance the blood-sugar level. It is a complete protein meal containing all the essential amino acids needed to build muscles.
There is no better way to recover and replenish your body than to have a healthy fruit smoothie. You can mix different types of fruits and have different experiments every day, and this includes fruits like banana, apple, oranges, vegetables, and nuts, and mix it with milk or curd whichever way you like.
Post-Workout Snack Ideas
- A cup of hot chocolate
- A slice of wheat toast with peanut butter and banana.
- One to two boiled eggs with toast.
- Protein-rich smoothie.
- Veg omelet with potatoes.
- A bowl filled with brown rice, cheese, salsa, chicken, and lettuce.
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Everyone’s body is different and will have different needs and preferences. However, it is essential to have the right carbs and proteins before and after your workout. It helps build muscles, improves performance, and helps in fast recovery. And it is also important to have enough fluids to replenish the lost water and electrolytes after the workout.
These are just the general guidelines for what to eat before and after your workout sessions. Everyone has a different digestive system, and what type of food you eat will also depend on how intense your workout session is. So have a combination of meals that works best for your body.
We hope this article gives you everything you need in terms of food-related advice to have a perfect workout session. If you have questions about some of these tips, you can drop them to us in the comments section and we will get back to you quickly.