What you eat is what you are. And if you train hard then it becomes all the more important to eat right.
Most of us, especially those who work out in the morning, rush to the gym empty stomach. Likewise, we often avoid eating after we are done with an intense session.
Do you know, this will neither help you build muscle nor it will help in weight loss?
According to experts, quality carbohydrates are important before workout, while lean proteins are a must post-workout. Before you start with your exercise, eat carbohydrates, but not too much, says Nancy Cohen, a professor specialising in nutrition.
So an apple, almonds, walnuts or a banana are all great pre-workout meals.
Cohen recommended consuming one to four grams of carbohydrates per every 2.2 pounds of body weight if you are planning to exercise for longer than an hour. Eating about an hour to four hours before working out is perfect for your fitness regime.
A review paper by researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia suggested that carbohydrate ingestion can improve endurance exercise performance. This paper was published in the Journal of Nutrition.
The researchers assessed 50 randomised studies on carbohydrate ingestion and endurance exercise. The researchers found that the data in the studies provide evidence that consuming carbohydrates can enhance endurance exercise performance in adults.
“By eating carbohydrate-rich foods that are low in fat and low or moderate in protein, you can make sure you have enough muscle glycogen as fuel for your physical activity. This might include low-fat granola bars, fig bars, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, banana, yogurt, pasta or other high-carbohydrate foods,” Cohen said.
Another way to multiply your gym session is by keeping yourself hydrated as you tend to sweat a lot during a workout session.
“Sufficient fluids are also important. In general, you can consume five to ten millilitres of water per kilogram of body weight in the two to four hours before a workout,” she said.
So keep your water bottle handy and you can also take coconut water in a sipper to add on to the mineral quotient.
It should be your own decision on whether to eat breakfast before or after exercise, said Stuart Phillips, a professor.
“While exercising on an empty stomach may burn fat, it does not seem to be beneficial in the long run. And, if the fatigue means that you are not able to exercise at full performance, then you will also not be able to sustain as effective a workout,” she added.
So try eating eggs, cereal and milk, toast with peanut butter, or fruit, and yogurt to fuel a morning workout.
“Depending on the sport and the comfort of the individual, a range of foods or beverages could be useful here,” Cohen said.
“After long or very high-intensity workouts, consuming 1 to 1.2 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per hour for four to six hours, along with 15 to 25 grams of protein within the first hour after exercise, will replenish muscle glycogen stores as well as support muscle protein synthesis,” Cohen said.
“After lighter workouts, eat a well-balanced meal, including high-quality protein and carbohydrates, within two to three hours after finishing, and drink enough fluids to replace losses,” Cohen added.
Sore muscles? Then read this out!
If you experience muscle pain after you exercise then certain fruit juices, such as watermelon juice and cherry juice, can reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
All in all, a post-workout routine should include fluids to rehydrate, carbohydrates to refuel and protein to repair.
So next time when you hit the gym, remember these tricks to achieve the desired results.