For your body to perform at its best, you need to provide it with the correct nutrients. What you eat before and after training is a critical part of getting the most out of your session and achieving your goals.
If you are not fuelling your body properly before a session, you will lack stamina and endurance. Similarly, if you don’t replenish correctly afterwards, your recovery period will be longer, resulting in increased lactic acid and poor muscle definition.
As a general rule, research has found that it is best to consume carbohydrates before exercise, and proteins after. This does vary depending on the specific food, but it is a good guideline to keep in mind. Carbohydrates metabolise quickly, in approximately 30 minutes, so you should try to opt for slow-release complex carbohydrates that will sustain your body throughout your training session. Proteins take a lot longer to metabolise (up to two hours making them ideal as a post-exercise recovery meal to help replenish your energy levels and support muscle tone.
- Bananas are high in potassium and carbohydrates. They fill you up without making you feel bloated or over full.
- Oats is a great wholegrain carbohydrate. It is slow-release so will provide you with energy throughout your session. It has also reported to assist in lowering cholesterol.
- Smoothies are ideal before weight training as you can add in your protein shake to give your body the additional strength it requires. Many people find that just a protein shake on its own is not sustaining enough for a tough workout, so combining it with a yoghurt and fruit smoothie provides all the nutrients you need to perform at your best.
- Quinoa is a low-GI complex carbohydrate that also has a high protein content. It promotes sustained energy levels while providing essential amino acids.
- Chicken contains more protein and less fat than red meat. Combine with avocado for a healthy protein-packed meal. Avocado is filled with healthy fats, folic acid and vitamin K.
- Tuna is another great option. It has a high protein content combined with an excellent source of essential omegas. Combined with sweet potato, this meal will replenish your body with vitamins and minerals.
- Mixed Nuts are an excellent snack for directly after a workout. But be sure to have a proper meal within 1-2 hours after your session. Nuts are full of fibre, protein, zinc, magnesium, vitamin E and B6 and folate.
- Eggs contain eight essential amino acids needed for effective muscle recovery. If you are eating egg regularly after workouts, separate the egg and only eat the white portion as the yolk is very high in cholesterol and should only be consumed once a week.
Always ensure that you consume adequate amounts of water throughout your workout. Steer clear of sugary energy drinks as they are filled with extra calories and unhealthy additives. These drinks are also high in caffeine, guarana and taurine which accelerates your heart rate and can lead to various health risks as they allow your body to exert further than what it is capable of. If you eat correctly before and after exercise, your body will naturally feel invigorated with increased energy levels and a trim, toned waistline.
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