If you’re exercising regularly and watching your health carefully, you’ve probably already delved headfirst into the world of healthy eating. Did you know that it’s not only what you eat that’s important, it’s when you eat? The proper nutrition before, during and after your workout can have a big impact on not only the effectiveness of your workout itself, but also on your recovery and your energy levels. You don’t have to be a nutrition expert; here are some tips on how to eat well before, during and after your workouts so that you get the most out of your exercise.
Before working out
It’s incredibly important to give your body the fuel it needs before you start putting it through the paces. If you don’t have the energy you’ll require, your workouts won’t be as effective, and can even decrease your motivation for next time. A meal within 3 hours before your workout can not only give you energy, but also hydrate your body, preserve your muscle mass, help you to recover more quickly, and also give your performance the boost you desire!
The meals you’ll require will differ due to a variety of things; whether you’re a man or a woman, what type of exercise you’re doing (weight lifting vs running, for example), along with your size and how many hours there are before your workout. If you eat 2-3 hours before working out, you can eat a small meal and still have time to digest before exercising, but if you’re within an hour of working out, a shake may be your best bet. Get some protein, carbs and a bit of healthy fat (almonds, for example) into your body before working out whether as a small meal or in a pre workout shake.
During your workout
While working out it’s important to keep energy levels up, so your body needs some type of food that will provide it with immediate fuel. Protein and carbs are okay to eat during exercise, but since fat is harder to digest, it’s best to steer clear until after you’ve finished. If you’ve eaten shortly before and will eat shortly after exercise and your workout won’t last more than 2 hours, you’re probably okay to skip a meal during this time and stick to staying hydrated. Longer workouts or a workout that wasn’t preceded by a meal will likely mean that you’ll need snacks to stay on top of your game.
After your workout
Your post workout meal should help you recover faster, rehydrate your body, refuel, help to build muscle, and to give you motivation to work hard next time! A combination of fats, protein and carbs should be eaten (or, if you’re really into shakes and smoothies, you can drink your post workout meal) within 2 hours of exercising. This
not only helps the body to recover quicker, it can also help to avoid hunger binges if you haven’t eaten fast enough afterwards. Plan ahead and prepare your post workout meal or shake ahead of time.
At Forest City Fitness, our London, Ontario gym offers personal training, fitness classes and youth fitness programs. If you’re in the London area, be sure to stop by and talk to one of our trainers anytime, as we’re open 24/7/365 with key fob access. Be sure to visit our website for more information.