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What To Eat Before And After Your Workout

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Poor eating habits can destabilize even the best efforts to stay fit. Sometimes, getting to the gym can make you feel as if you are going into battle. So, you should always make sure you are fueling your body with the right kind of food to keep you energized and focused while you are there. You may sometimes find that your energy is not always the same throughout the day. Your diet can have a huge impact on your energy level, especially during your workout time. A well-balanced diet or the proper snacks can help fuel your body and minimize early onset fatigue. If your goal is to speed up your workout recovery and burn more calories, you should know exactly what to eat before and after your workout.

Pre-workout food

A pre-workout meal should be rich in carbohydrates, as they are the body’s main source of energy. An empty stomach will not provide you the sufficient amount of energy required to maximize your workout. As a result, you will limit your ability to burn calories. Your diet should consist of a moderate amount of lean protein, which plays a significant role in building and repairing tissues, including your muscles. You should minimize the amount of saturated fat and fiber from your meal to ensure your meals are easy to digest. They are also known take away oxygen and energy-delivering blood from your muscles. You should also experiment with different types of food in order to find out what is your ideal pre-exercise meal.

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Try the following pre-exercise foods-

  • Oatmeal with skim milk and a sprinkle of brown sugar, banana, almonds

  • Low-fat granola or Low-fat yogurt smoothie, fruits

  • Swiss cheese or turkey sandwich with fruits

  • Whole-wheat toast with honey, whole grain pasta or whole-grain cereal

  • Kidney beans and sweet potatoes

  • Hummus sandwich on pita bread and raw veggies

  • Whole grain crackers with peanut butter and cheese

  • Hard boiled eggs and vegetable juice

  • Lean hamburger

  • Brown bread with peanut butter
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If you only have five minutes before you exercise, you can simply eat a banana or an apple. These are easily digested carbohydrates and do not make you feel sluggish. However, you should make sure you do not exercise on an empty stomach, as this will make you feel light-headed, weak and even more sluggish. This happens because your body doesn’t have enough fuel to power you during your exercise routine. Ideally 100-200 calories are enough before you workout. The portion and content of your pre-workout meal should coordinate with the level of physical activity that you are going to perform.

However, one of the main questions is when is the right time to eat before exercise? You should eat a nutritionally balanced meal at least 1-2 hours prior to your workout. It takes time for your body to break down the food you eat and turn it into energy. Usually heavier meals should be eaten 3-4 hours before you exercise to allow the time required to break down your food. In a nutshell, when you have a workout session or a kickboxing class scheduled, you need to make sure that you eat some complex-carbohydrates and lean proteins about 1-2 hours before your fitness routine.

Post-workout food

Proper nutrition after exercise is just as critical as before the workout session. However, eating only the right kind of foods will enable you to build muscle and speed up the recovery process. The biggest mistake people often make is rewarding themselves with food and drink immediately after a workout session. You do not need to be obsessive about matching the calories lost and the nutrients needed ratios perfectly. However, do not fall into the common trap of thinking that it is perfectly okay to eat anything because you have just completed an intense workout. The majority of people tend to feel very hungry after exercising, which makes it easy to eat more than they actually need. They often make the wrong decisions in choosing which types of food to eat and end up choosing something that does not really help their body. Eating too much of the wrong things can have the opposite effect of what you want.

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Try the following post-workout foods-

  • Brown rice, broccoli, bell peppers
  • Whole wheat pita bread, sliced turkey meat, veggies, low-fat chocolate milk

  • Hummus, sweet potato, kiwi and vegetables

  • Pineapple, blueberries, dried fruits and nuts

  • Salmon or lean meat

  • Low-fat milk with a scoop of protein powder

  • Granola and cereal bar, a fruit cup, dry cereals

  • Grilled chicken sandwich with mixed vegetables

  • Veggie omelet with avocado.

Try to eat enough calories to equal 50% of the calories you burn during your exercise routine. For instance, if you burn 600 calories during your workout, eat at least 300 calories afterward. As long as you are eating within the recommended calorie range, you will definitely reach your goal to lose weight.

The ideal time to eat your post-workout meal is within 30 minutes to two hours after your workout. This is the time range when your body is ready to top off its fuel tank to prepare for your next workout session.

So what are you eating today before you go to the gym?

Hi, my name is Helen. At a young age I realized I have a passion for fitness. I love to stay active and enjoy working out. I hope to motivate others and help them reach their fitness goals. I am self employed and works with many kick boxing franchise, health and fitness blogs.

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