Feeding your body before, during and after workouts has been a controversial subject among Fitness Trainers for decades.
They’re missing the point.
The way you do that is by feeding your body before, during and after workouts of any kind. It is eating the right foods and drinking the right fluids, in the right amounts, at the right times.
According to The American College of Sports Medicine:
“Adequate food and fluid should be consumed before, during, and after exercise to help maintain blood glucose concentration, maximize exercise performance, and improve recovery time.”
“Anyone following any exercise recommendations should be well hydrated before exercise and drink enough fluid during and after exercise to balance fluid losses.”
Everyone perspires, even in the winter, it will just evaporate quicker, so you may not notice…but your body will.
There is no rigid schedule or hard-fast rules, but there is a recommended routine you should follow before, during and after any type of sustained exercise.
Otherwise, you’ll be driving a car on empty. You also won’t have enough energy to get the most out of your workout and you’ll be limiting your ability to burn calories.
Ideally, you should fuel up at least two hours before you exercise by:
- Drinking water
Eating healthy carbohydrates such as:
- whole-grain cereals (with low-fat or skim milk)
- whole-wheat toast
- low-fat or fat-free yogurt
- whole grain pasta
- brown rice
- fruits and vegetables.
Avoid saturated fats and even a lot of healthy protein because these types of fuels digest slower in your stomach and take away the oxygen and energy-delivering blood from your muscles.
- If you only have 5-10 minutes before you exercise, eat a piece of fruit such as an apple or banana.
The plan is to eat easily digested carbohydrates, so you don’t feel sluggish.
During Exercise: Make a Pit Stop
No matter your fitness level or how much time your routine takes, you must keep your body hydrated by taking small, frequent sips of water.
If your routine takes an hour or less, it’s not necessary to eat during the workout. But, for longer, high-intensity vigorous workouts, you should eat 50-100 calories of carbohydrates, such as low-fat yogurt, raisins or a banana, every half hour.
➡ After Exercise: Again, refuel Your tank. Here’s what you’ll need:
➡ Fluids: Drink water, of course. Blend your water with 100% juice such as orange juice which provides fluids and carbohydrates.
➡ Carbohydrates: You burn a lot of carbohydrates—the main fuel for your muscles— when you exercise.
In the 20-60 minutes after your workout, your muscles will store carbohydrates and protein as energy and help in recovery.
➡ Protein: Eat foods with protein to help repair and grow your muscles.
Although we all have different digestive systems, these are good and proven guidelines. A lot depends on what type of workout you’re doing.
So…do what works best for you, but know that what you put in your body (nutrition) is as important as what you do with your body (exercise).
Both are crucial for keeping your engine performing at its best.