food and workouts
Fitness,  Weight Loss

Importance of Food Before, During, and After Workouts

The body is like a vehicle that needs fuel to keep it performing and running, especially when you exercise. It means that fueling up the body by cosuming the right foods and drinking the right fluuids – in the right amounts and 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 during exercise, maximize exercise performance, and improve recovery time. Athletes should be well hydrated before exercise and drink enough fluid during and after exercise to balance fluid losses.”

Riska Plat, M.S., R.D., nutrition consultant at Mount Sinai Medical Center-New York, says that you do not have to follow a very rigid schedule but there are certain things that you should do before, during, and after working out.

Fuel up before workouts or exercises.

image: WebMd

If you do not fuel up before working out is like “driving a car empty.” You will not have sufficient energy to optimize your physical activity, limiting your ability to burn calories. Health professionals recommend fueling up at least two hours before you exercise

  • By hydrating with water.
  • By consuming fruits and veggies, healthy carbs (wholegrain cereals with low-fat or skin milk), wholewheat toast, low fat or fat-free yogurt, brown rice, or whole grain pasta.
  • By avoiding saturated fats and plenty of healthy protein because, although they are “fuels,” they digest slower in the stomach and remove oxygen and energy-delivering blood from your muscles.

But if you only have five to ten minutes before exercising, try eating a piece of fruit like banana or an apple. Eat carbs that are easily digested to prevent being sluggish during exercises.

Keep hydrated during workouts.

image: GOQii

Whether you are somebody who is being trained for several hours, or somebody doing a low- to moderate- workout, keep hydrated with little, frequent sips of water. You may not have to eat during a routine that is an hour or less. But if you are on a longer high-intensity workouts, eat 50 to 100 calories every half an hour of carbs like low-fat yogurt, banana, or raisins.

Refuel after workouts.

image: DoctorRoz

After workout, refuel by:

  • Drinking water. Or, you can blend water with natural 100% juice (like orange juice), giving you carbs and carbs.
  • Consuming carbs. You have burned plenty of carbs, which is the main fuel for the muscles during workout. Within 20 to 60 minutes after physical activity, your muscles can store carbs and protein as energy and for recovery.
  • Eat foods with protein for restoring and building your muscles.

Although, these may be general guidelines on what to eat after any physical activity, we have different digestive systems and how we handle it will depend on the type of physical activity that we are doing.

In short, do what works best for you. Take note that what you eat (nutrition) is as essential as what you do with your body (physical exercise like exercise). Both factors are critical in keeping your body perform at its best.

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