Fitness and Well-being

Workout Nutrition: What To Eat Before And After To Maximise Benefits

Ask any fitness expert and he’ll tell that the way to getting fit isn’t just sweating it out in the gym or running every day but also about what you’re putting into your body. When you work out, you need just the right amount and type of food that keeps your engine running smoothly while also accruing the maximum benefits.

When, what, where and why you eat is important to know whether it’s a casual training day or a competition. Good nutrition is the difference between being active and leading an active lifestyle.

Pre Workout Foods

Always aim to have your meal or a snack at least 2 to 3 hours prior to your workout. Chewing down food right before your exercise isn’t a good idea for your tummy. The quantity and type of food also depend on the kind and intensity of training you will be indulging in, that particular day.

A good rule of thumb is to make sure that your pre-workout diet consists of a mix of carbohydrates and proteins as you’ll need energy for the next few hours.

Let us look at some examples of what you can eat:

#1. Oatmeal With Skim Milk and Fruit:

Mostly for people who prefer working out in the morning, it’s a great idea to start with a bowl of oats and fruits. Complex carbs make sure that your blood sugar levels stay in check and you feel energized for a longer time.

#2. Greek Yoghurt and fruit smoothie:

Greek yoghurt has double the amount of protein as regular yoghurt and hence packs a protein-filled punch. The carbs in the fruits break down pretty quickly acting like a fuel for your training and prevent any possible muscle damage.

#3. Trail mix:

A combination of nuts, grains and dried fruit is a good choice for a snack filled with fibre, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Nuts provide the protein, calories and high-fat content required for a hefty workout.

#4. A piece of fruit:

Fruits pack the much-needed carbohydrates and fibre, making a perfect pre-workout snack. Bananas, especially, as you might already know are a rich source of carbs and potassium that supports muscle development.

Post Workout Foods

Post-workout nutrition is a way to recover, rehydrate, and refuel while improving your future performance. Eating protein after a training session triggers the synthesis of proteins from before, ultimately leading to better muscle tissue maintenance. 

Contrary to what you must have heard, you don’t need carbs for restoring your muscle. When it comes to fats, make sure you’re not incorporating a lot of it, but having some of it in your post-workout meal will not come in the way of your recovery. 

Also, not that you have to rush through the door and head straight to the refrigerator as soon as you finish the gym, but you don’t need to wait around forever before having something. Make sure you eat within a two-hour period to ensure a speedy recovery. 

Some examples of post-workout food:

#1. Eggs served with whole wheat bread:

The fibre in the bread keeps your blood sugar levels in check and the carbs restore the energy burnt during your workout. When combined with egg, they make a complete protein giving your body the essential amino acids to build muscle.

#2. Salmon with baked sweet potato:

Salmon is known for being high in proteins and omega-3 fats reducing any inflammation causing muscle soreness. Pairing it with sweet potato adds the fibre, the carbs keep you full while boosting your immunity with the vitamin A required.

#3. Chicken with Brown Rice and Grilled Veggies:

When you’re looking to eat a meal rather than a snack post-workout, roasted chicken with brown rice and some grilled veggies works really well. Chicken for the protein, rice for the carbohydrates, fibre, and veggies for the vitamins.

#4. Power smoothie:

Fruits, almond or soy milk, ice, water and some plain yoghurt blended together gives you a great power smoothie. Add in your favourite nut butter for a dose of extra fats.

#5. Wrap it up:

Easy, quick and nutrient-filled, you can never go wrong with a whole grain wrap stuffed with your favourite lean meat, avocado, greens and beans. Whole grains provide high-fibre and carbs, while the lean meat adds in the protein. Adding avocado gives you heart-healthy unsaturated fats and makes it creamy, replacing the mayonnaise.

Eating the right amount of food ensures that you get maximum benefits from your workout, no matter the goal. There’s nothing wrong with succumbing yourself to a cheat meal once in a while though!

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Sakshi Bajpai

A major gym-junkie and foodie, Sakshi has juxtaposed life mantras. She loves to trek in the Himalayas, play badminton on the weekends and write about all things sports.