The foods to eat before and after a workout should be highly nutritious. Usually, there is confusion with the foods that help us recover and reach our goals. A study by fitness enthusiasts revealed that half of the participants believed that consuming carbohydrates after a workout could lead to worse results. In addition, a third of the participants do not want to consume any calories after a workout.
If you Google “foods for before and after workouts,” you will get more than 3.5 million results.
But it isn’t easy to find a simple and easy to understand summary of how a workout depends on what you have to eat before and after workouts.
It is about consuming the appropriate nutrients before exercising, giving you strength and energy to perform adequately in workouts.
Each of the macro nutrients has a specific function before and after physical activity. However, the proportion varies depending on the type of exercise performed.
If your workout lasts longer than 60 minutes, consider having a healthy snack during exercise. It can be fruit, yogurt or an energy bar.
Then eat carbohydrates and protein within two hours, if possible. It can be a recovery shake, chocolate milk, or a peanut butter sandwich.
And consider keeping a journal to record how you feel after eating different meals and snacks before and after exercising.
What to eat before Workouts?
If the activity starts in 2-3 hours:
● Sandwich with whole wheat bread.
● Omelette with two eggs and a portion of whole wheat bread.
● Half an avocado and a bowl of fruits.
● Brown rice, lean meat, and cooked or grilled vegetables.
If the activity starts in 2 hours:
● Banana smoothie with milk
● Whole-grain cereal with milk.
● A cup of oatmeal, a banana and almond slices.
● Whole wheat sandwich with peanut butter and a piece of fruit.
If the activity starts in 1 hour or 30 minutes:
● Natural yoghurt and fruit.
● Oatmeal and a serving of milk.
● A bowl of fruit such as an apple, a banana, or an orange.
For best results, you must try different combinations until you find the one that makes you feel
more comfortable and performs better.
Remember that you cannot lack adequate hydration before, during and after workouts.
What to eat after Workouts?
During the first hour after workouts, you must incorporate simple carbohydrates (fruit, white bread, light cookies, non-whole grains, jam, honey).
Then you supplement it with a lean protein, which does not necessarily have to be within that first hour after workouts. For example, low-fat cheese, egg, milk, low-fat yogurt, lean or plant-based proteins like tofu, quinoa, chickpeas, sprouts.
Don’t forget the importance of continually hydrating.
Why do we recommend those foods?
They are important for the muscles to function correctly. It is essential to know that an athlete will never perform adequately without consuming carbohydrates. For short, high-intensity exercise, stored energy reserves in glycogen can be the primary source of energy.
We can find them in products of animal origin such as meats, eggs, tuna, cheeses and in those of vegetable origins such as soybeans and grains.
Consuming protein alone or together with carbohydrates, before or after workouts, gives you the ability to improve muscle recovery.
Benefits of protein consumption
● Anabolic response
● Accelerated muscle recovery
● Increased strength and lean muscle mass
● Improved athletic performance
While glycogen is used for short and high-intensity exercises, good quality fats such as avocado, seeds, sunflower oil, olive oil are the first energy source for long and low-intensity workouts.
In summary, what foods you should eat will depend on the type, duration and intensity of the activity to be carried out.