It’s no secret that a balanced blend of good nutrition and physical activity is what makes up a healthy lifestyle. But when those two things meet, it can cause some confusion.
The most important thing to remember is that food is our fuel. Think about your car… before you take your car on the highway, you need to make sure the tank is full enough for the journey, and after, it needs to be refueled when the levels drop
Eating before exercise is so important because it can make or break the workout. It’s important to choose foods that won’t slow you down, we don’t want our muscles and digestive system fighting for the blood flow! Key things to remember when choosing a pre-workout snack..
- rich in easily-digestible carbohydrates to ensure glycogen stores in muscles are adequate
- small amounts of protein and fat so that digestion is easy
- 60 minutes prior to the workout, so digestion has moved out of the stomach
My favorites that I typically have on hand are apples, yogurt with granola, toast with jam and popcorn.
Eating after is just as important as what’s eaten before a workout. This is when the body is dehydrated, the muscle stores are depleted, and it’s time to repair any damage done to the muscles. Key things to remember for post-workout snacks..
- good source of protein to help build muscle tissue that has been damaged or in the aid of developing new tissue
- slow-digesting, complex carbohydrates that will replace the lost glycogen stores
- potassium & sodium (electrolytes) and fluids lost in sweat also need to be replenished
- eat within 60 minutes of activity so that recovery is adequate
My favorites are peanut butter banana protein smoothie, turkey sandwich on wheat, yogurt with berries and granola. Orange juice and coconut water are good additions as well.
This is a very basic breakdown. What works for one person may not work for someone else, it really is very individualized. As with eating from day-to-day, everyone is going to have different needs. If you are unsure as to what kinds of fuel your body needs for your lifestyle, it’s best to talk to a Dietitian. Many specialize in sports nutrition and can help you start fueling your body the right way.
What are your favorite before and after snacks for workouts?