Working out is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. But what about the way you feed your body before and after exercising? Not every type of food will nourish your body the same way. And if you pay closer attention to what you eat before hitting the gym and after a good sweat, you might be able to improve your workout and also recover faster and more easily from it. Sounds interesting? Have a look below to see what it is about.
Before your workout
One thing to be aware of is that your body is going to burn the same amount of fat whether you eat or not before exercising. Which means, if your body doesn’t find any protein in your kidneys or liver (its main sources), it is going to look elsewhere, in your muscles, and what happens then is that you will lose muscle mass. If this happens a lot, your metabolism might slow down and not be as efficient to burn calories as before. I am sure this isn’t what you are looking for while exercising, right? So yes, it might be a good thing not to skip eating before working out 😉 So give your body the fuel it needs to be at its maximum performances! The best food combination before working out is some complex carbs (low GI) an some proteins. Avoid fibres as they are really hard to digest and might make you feel really uncomfortable during your workout.
Here are some examples of what I like to eat before working out:
- oatmeal with berries
- a banana and some almond butter
- greek yogurt and trail mix
- a smoothie
During your workout
Don’t forget to drink, it is really important. Try drinking 8 ounces (250ml) of water 20 to 30 minutes before starting your workout, 7 to 10 ounces (200 to 300ml) every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise and then rehydrate a lot when you are done with your session. If your workout lasts more than an hour, for example if you run a marathon, water might not be enough and you might want to grab a sports drink with a bit of sugar in it (don’t go crazy on the sugar) to give your body a kick.
After your workout
Your goal is now to nourish your body with some food that will refill your energy levels, build and repair your muscles that were broken down during exercise, in order for your body to grow stronger. It is important to refill your body within 30 minutes after the end of your workout. Go for a meal that combines proteins and carbohydrates.
Here are some examples of what I usually eat after my workout:
- protein shake with some fruits, plant based protein powder, unsweetened almond milk and some chia, hemp and flax seeds.
- baked salmon with steamed vegetables and sweet potato
- poached eggs with avocado on a whole wheat toast
- vegetable omelet
- protein balls (if you are looking for a recipe, try my matcha and coconut protein balls)
Over to you now! What are your favourite pre and post workout meals/snacks. Don’t hesitate to share your recipes in the comments below.