Special Contribution By Lucy Wyndham | Best Things to Eat Before and After a Workout

Best Things to Eat Before and After a Workout

Fewer than 10% of Indian citizens get regular exercise, according to a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research that polled 14,227 individuals in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and the Union territory of Chandigarh. The study found that even those that do get regular exercise weren’t meeting the minimum requirements for cardiovascular activity. Doctors recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. That’s about 30 minutes of day of walking, swimming, jogging or cycling.

It’s important to be active, so if these statistics have encouraged you to start working out regularly, first check with your doctor and then check out our suggestions on the best things to eat before and after your workout. Good nutrition goes hand in hand with working out and what you eat, especially before you work out, matters.

Before Your Workout

Your body needs fuel to operate efficiently. For working out, that is even truer. You’ll be burning a lot of calories quickly, so you need complex carbs that digest slowly to keep your blood sugar and energy levels steady. You also need protein to keep your muscles strong and aid in recovery. You even need some fats, to power longer and less intensive workouts. Ideally, you should eat 2-3 hours before your workout but no later than 60 minutes before, otherwise stomach upset could occur.

Good meal choices include a lean protein, brown rice and roasted or steamed veggies, an omelet, whole grain toast with avocado and fresh fruit, oatmeal with fresh fruit, a smoothie made with milk, protein powder and fresh fruit, or a natural nut butter and fruit preserve spread on whole grain bread sandwich. Meal bars can also be okay but read labels carefully as some of them are little more than junk food, and of course, always drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.

After Your Workout 

After your workout, you will be depleted of glycogen and protein, both of which are needed for strong muscles. They need to be replaced to aid in recovery and stimulate new muscle growth, so you should eat 30-45 minutes after your workout for optimal results. You’ll want to be sure your meal or snack pairs complex carbs with protein. Good choices include tuna on whole wheat crackers, yogurt with fresh fruit, salmon and brown rice, a grilled chicken and veggie pita, hummus on whole grain crackers, or veggies with beans and brown rice. Smoothies are also a good choice if you’re on the go. Just remember to make sure whatever you chose includes lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs.

Working out is important for optimal health, but to get the most out of it, you have to eat the right things at the right time. Stay away from junk food and foods that provide empty calories and stick with proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Be sure to drink plenty of water as well, either plain water or an electrolyte replacement like Gatorade. Stay away from colas and energy drinks.

This article is written by Lucy Wyndham (lucywyndham.writer@gmail.com)

Lucy Wyndham is a professional freelance writer, Lucy enjoys reading, hiking and spending time with her husband and two children.

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