Consuming the right nutrients before, during and after working out has proven to lead to the most favorable and healthy results. Food is not only physically important fuel for the gym, but a holistically-proven mood booster as well. Both eating right and working out benefit off of one another, therefore one area should never be neglected. To achieve a healthier, happier you, this three-step nutrition guide will provide you with some direction on foods that will benefit you the most on your fitness journey.
Before: Carbs on Carbs on Carbs
Media and fad diets have persisted to prove that carbs are the enemy of enemies, but don’t get it twisted with healthy complex carbohydrates, which are scientifically proven to be the greatest energy source before a workout, according to the Mayo Clinic. Complex carbohydrates give you sustainable energy over a longer period of time while being converted into glucose (blood sugar). Ideally, preparation should begin about two hours before working out — this should include hydration, as well. Here are some complex carbohydrates to try:
- Whole grain cereal with a low-fat milk
- Peanut butter on toast (or a rice cake)
- Low-fat granola bar or fig bar
- Whole grain pasta or rice dish
- Cup of coffee (caffeine is a good pre-workout)
If you only have a few minutes before going to workout, take a quick piece of fruit like an apple or a banana.
During: Hydration Nation
One of the most important things to do during a workout is to hydrate. Depending on the intensity of your workout, certain hydration methods may be better than others. If you are planning on working out for an hour or less, water is the way to go. If you want to revamp up your water while also incorporating different amino acid variations, scoop some pre-workout powder and mix! If you’re planning on doing an intense work out for an extended period of time, tag along a sports drink for electrolyte replenishment or even a granola bar.
Pro tip: Avoid the tummy ache by chugging. Take small sips consistently.
After: Protein Repair
Carry your motivated energy to your post workout routine! Proteins are essential for cell growth and repair that are needed after any workout. Post workout routines should include fluids to rehydrate, carbohydrates to refuel and proteins to repair. Here are some post-workout foods to try after your next workout:
- Protein shake
- Chocolate milk
- 100% juices (orange juice, apple, cranberry)
- Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables
- Egg omelet with avocado spread on toast
- Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread
- Greek yogurt with nuts and berries
- Pita bread, vegetables and hummus
Achieving your most healthy state does NOT imply depriving yourself of key nutrients. Eating right is essential to both a physically successful gym workout and the mental flow of glowing endorphins — making you even MORE confident. Nutrition before, during and after is the key triad to elevate your gym game in all realms.