Your body works to build and recover muscle throughout the day and not just during the exercise hour. When you consume well-timed snacks, you are giving your body adequate fuel to burn fat, and build and repair muscle quickly. Here is a quick guide that will help you design the right pre and post workout nutrition for your body.
Preparing Your Body for a Workout
It’s true that the body gets almost all its energy from carbohydrates. Hence, your pre workout meal has to be rich in carbohydrates so that you can perform at optimal energy levels. The glucose consumed via carbohydrates gets converted to stored energy or glycogen in your liver and muscles. The glycogen is then used as fuel during your workout.
When deciding on your pre-workout meal, ensure that you make it carbohydrate-rich. There shouldn’t be a case of your body glycogen stores getting completely depleted. If this happens, your body will start breaking down protein which will ultimately lead to muscle loss.
Here are some pre-workout meal ideas to get your body ready for a workout:
• A big banana
• Peanut butter spread on a whole-wheat toast
• A smoothie with low-fat milk and a scoop of protein powder
• Unsweetened almond milk
• A handful of nuts and mixed seeds
• 2 egg-whites in a thin whole-wheat wrap
Refueling Your Body Post Workout
As mentioned earlier, your body starts using glycogen (stored energy) in the muscles as a source of energy that helps you get through the workout. So you burn almost all your energy reserves while exercising and need to replace the lost nutrients by eating a good post-workout meal or snack.
Nutritionists and fitness experts suggest getting a healthy mix of carbohydrates and proteins immediately after a workout. While carbohydrates allow your body to restore the lost glycogen, proteins help repair and rebuild the tired muscles. Also, it is best to eat your carb-protein meal/snack within 15 to 20 minutes of the workout for optimum results.
Here are a few ideas for your post-workout meals:
• Yogurt and berries (or smoothie with a scoop of protein powder, fruit and skimmed milk)
• Cooked/boiled egg-whites on a whole-grain toast with veggies
• Avocado and hard-boiled egg wrap
• Peanut butter, banana and chia seeds on toast
• Grilled chicken breast and quinoa salad
• Steamed fish on brown rice and veggies