Healthy eating and being active are key to healthy aging, but knowing what to eat before and after exercise – and why it is important – is even more beneficial.
You need to be fueled and hydrated before so you have energy to workout, and then replenish that fuel after a workout to repair your muscles and avoid the next day stiffness that comes with sore muscle.
What to Eat Before and After Exercise
About two hours before you begin exercising (or at least plan to!), you should start hydrating. Dehydration is a serious issue, particularly when it’s hot out, but even when it’s not. If it’s cold, and you are exercising outdoors, your body needs to work even harder to maintain itself against the weather. Hydration is the first step to ensure that your body will perform well throughout your workout and knowing what to eat before and after exercise will avoid tummy troubles and sore muscles post exercise.
Eating right before a workout isn’t recommended, so along with that tall glass of water two hours before, it’s a good time to have a snack. Low energy levels won’t help right in the middle of your workout, so make sure your body has the right fuel to get to work!
Healthy carbohydrates, mixed with a little bit of protein, are a good idea, particularly if your goal isn’t weight loss. The carbs are precisely the kind of fuel your body will be looking for as you expend energy. Whole grain toast with almond butter, cereal, low fat yogurts, and fruits like bananas are all good options. Throw in a few nuts for extra protein and energy!
If your goal is to lose some weight, then you want to aim for burning of fat, rather than excess carbs. You can do this by following a Keto diet and aiming for proteins and fat to sustain you, rather than carbs.
If you’re eating a full meal a couple of hours before working out, make sure you have a good mix of protein and vegetables but avoid things that can cause gastrointestinal issues, like broccoli or beans. You don’t want to be uncomfortable, mid-workout!
The Short List
Banana, nut butter, granola bar, dried fruit, whole grain toast, yogurt, nuts
Having access to water is a good idea. You don’t want to be sloshing around because you over hydrated beforehand, so being able to take in small quantities throughout your workout is your best bet.
Unless you are doing some long distance, endurance marathon training, it’s not necessary to eat during your workout or even use those ‘sport drinks’ that may be high in sugar, colours and artificial flavouring. Water is usually enough. If you’re prone to drops in your blood sugar however, consider having a fruit and nut bar a handful of almonds at the ready, just in case. This is particularly true if you didn’t manage to get that snack in a couple of hours prior to your workout.
Post workout, the key is to refuel in a way that aids in your body’s recovery. You need to repair those muscles that have been stretched and pulled, so that you’re ready and raring to go the next time you are going to work out and not stiff that next day.
The best way to accomplish this is to give your body what it is craving at that moment: protein. A healthy protein shake or smoothie is an easy way to accomplish this, giving you 20g of protein, quickly and easily. The complete protein that you get in Boomer Nutrition ENERGY Whey and NEW Organic Vegan Protein is fast-acting and is easy for your body to breakdown to get all the nutrients it needs.
Protein, on its own, is beneficial for improving your muscle strength. Protein combined with other nutrients like calcium (milk, almond milk, greek yogurt), and vitamins from fruits and vegetables, goes a long way to improving your overall health and well being. Just mix up and drink a protein shake within 30 minutes of your workout for maximum benefit!
The Short List
Protein shake, banana, fruit, cottage cheese, yogurt & granola, eggs, chicken or fish, veggies with quinoa
Now that you know what to eat before and after exercise you can look forward to your post workout smoothie! If you’ve been working out in the cold, what sounds better than a Hot Chocolate Protein Smoothie? Not much! And for a hot day, try an Orange Creamsicle Protein Smoothie. These are so good, you’ll have a hard time believing that they’re good for you!
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