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What to eat before and after exercise

Here’s a simple guide to pre and post-workout nutrition for strength training
Did you ever notice that food is no less than magic? How certain foods when coupled with each other and consumed at right time, create great nutrients that help our body grow and stay fit. Absolutely amazing!
Nutrition plays an important role in determining the end results whether it’s successful or not. What you eat before and after your workout, may be the difference between meeting your goals and falling short.
Let’s understand the process. To crush a tough workout, you need energy. You get energy from carbohydrates, a preferred fuel source that keeps the body’s engine running constantly. The carbohydrates, then pass through the digestive system and are broken down into glucose that gets absorbed and is used as energy through which you can easily carry out an intense workout.

What to eat before your workout

Approximately two to three hours before strength training opt for a meal that is:
  • Relatively high in carbohydrates to maximise the maintenance of blood glucose.  
  • Low in fat and fibre to minimise gastrointestinal distress.  
  • Ample in protein for a complete and balanced meal.
Approximately 30 minutes to one hour before strength training, fuel up with a small and easily digestible food that includes:
  • Carbohydrates, focusing on low-glycemic foods such as bananas.  
  • Easily digestible protein such as whey protein.  
Getting back to the question, what food to have then? Try consuming any of the following for gaining best carbs and protein for a healthy workout session every day. Oats, wheat germ, whole grains, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, brown rice, high fibre cereals, roti, paratha, porridge, bran flakes, muesli, peas, vegetables, fruits (banana), milk, meat, chicken, fish, chickpeas (chana), lentils (dal) and beans.

What to eat after your workout

In the 30 minutes after training is completed, it’s vital to refuel and recover with effective post-workout nutrition to help replace muscle glycogen, repair muscle damage and rebuild muscle tissue, all in preparation for the next session.
The best post-workout snacks include:
  • Adequate fluids, electrolytes and energy.  
  • Carbs approximately 1 gram per kilogram of body weight. Example, a individual weighing 75 kgs would consume approximately 75 grams of carbohydrate within the first 30 minutes post-exercise.  
  • Approximately 25-30 grams of protein. It provides amino acids to help reduce inflammation as well as build and repair of muscle tissue.
Food with protein content is important for muscle growth. They play an important role in preventing muscle breakouts by replenishing and repairing them. When an adequate and appropriate protein intake is done before and after a workout, your muscles tend to recover faster, building a good muscle. 
Remember, a post-workout diet must consist of protein in a higher amount to avoid muscle breakage and help speed up muscle recovery. The best way to do so is to have a post workout meal comprising of high protein and low-fat items like fish, meat, tofu, soybean, milk, moong, lentils and chicken.
Generally, carbohydrates are highly overlooked and not included in an after workout diet. Also, proteins are important, but after a workout session, as our body reduces blood sugar and glycogen where proteins cannot suffice, it becomes important to consume fast digesting carbs so as to correct the levels of blood sugar and maintain a balance in the replenishment of glycogen.
Hence, you can eat foods such as blackberries, blueberries, potatoes, cranberries, kiwi, melon, milk, yogurt, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, watermelons, white rice, lemon, and plums which are some of the best post workout meal items and are most effective when consumed after 30 minutes of working out.

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