Perfecting the right nutrition for your energy needs is the essential first step to a healthy body and mind, as the food we eat acts as fuel to get us through the day. This fuel is even more crucial when it’s required before a big workout, so it pays to know what will give your body the most energy.
Not only is pre-workout fuel crucial, but so too is how we feed our bodies after we exercise. Recovery and sustenance come from food as well, and eating the right foods post-workout can help us regain energy and feel fit enough to exercise again the next day.
With just a few simple ideas for quick and easy meals you can eat when you’re on the run, you’ll never need to suffer through a workout fatigued again. When you’re done, reward your body with something nutritious to maximize the efforts of your workout and repair your muscles.
Pre-workout Foods for the Best Results
Pre-workout nutrition doesn’t need to be complicated, so don’t assume you need to cook up a complicated meal just to get the essentials to help you through your routine. Here are a few easy snack ideas that will fit in your gym bag and give enough energy to make your workout a breeze.
One of the easiest foods to grab if you’re on the go, bananas can be enjoyed a number of ways or fresh from the source. Bananas have two great qualities going for them which aid in a more efficient workout: carbohydrates and potassium. While potassium is great for helping to keep pesky stitches and cramps at bay, they also have as many carbs as two pieces of whole wheat bread.
Whole Grain Bagel
According to Women’s Health Magazine, whole grains are the best way to ensure a steady release of carbohydrates over your workout, rather than relying on a quick burst of energy. For an added boost, spread some low-fat cottage cheese over your bagel for protein. This will aid your muscles in recovery and help to prevent any tears or strains, so it’s a double bonus.
This amazing source of fiber will keep you feeling full, energized, and help to slowly release carbohydrates over your workout. Mix half a cup of oats with some peanut butter, stir them into your smoothie, or enjoy them topped with fruit and yoghurt. Whichever way you have your oats, you’ll be pleased you did.
Feeding Your Body After a Workout
Once the workout is done, it’s just as important to eat the right foods as you did before you exercised. According to Men’s Fitness, after a workout, our muscle protein begins to break down so we need to help it repair. With the correct mix of carbohydrates and protein, you’re promoting muscle growth and giving your body the best chance at recovery.
Get creative with your Greek yoghurt and add some berries for extra muscle-repairing nutrients. Greek yoghurt contains twice as much protein as regular yoghurt and is another great source of carbohydrates.
However you want to enjoy it, wholegrain cereal is one of the easiest ways to get a fix of carbohydrates and protein. This food will fix depleted muscles stores and give you extended energy, plus it can be eaten on the go. Add some milk or yoghurt to help fill you up longer, or enjoy snacking on the cereal alone.
For a simple post-workout snack, eat a tin of yellowfin tuna and some wholegrain crackers on the run. While the tuna is a great source of protein which is essential for muscle recovery, the crackers are an easy way to refuel your body with the carbohydrates it sorely needs.
Choose the Right Foods
Although you may be tempted to avoid eating before or after a workout and ditching the extra calories, selecting the right foods will have a far greater impact on your body and energy levels than skipping meals altogether.
By choosing the right types of foods and avoiding bad carbohydrates such as processed sugar and other unhealthy snacks, you’re getting a steady flow of energy that will help to push you further in your workout.
Being time poor should be no excuse, as all of these meals can be easily eaten on the run. With the right type of fuel and recovery food, you’ll notice a huge improvement in how hard you can work out, as well as how minimal your recovery time is.