When working out, it is never a good idea to do so on an empty stomach. Your body needs fuel to keep you going through the entire duration of your workout. It’s important to know what type of food to eat before and after, to make sure your efforts don’t go to waste.
Certain food types after a strength training workout will provide your body with maximum energy and help it to recover properly. It’s also important to never exercise after a big meal as your body is trying to digest food and this could result in nausea. Eating a snack an hour before your exercise session is enough time to release energy and minimise hunger pangs.
Joanna Dase, fitness expert at Curves.eu spoke exclusively to Jogger about the best pre and post workout foods.
“Knowing what to eat before a run helps to minimise fatigue and speed up the recovery process. Especially if you are a distance runner, it’s important to fuel up at least three to four hours in advance. The purpose is to keep you feeling full whilst maintaining optimal levels of blood sugar for exercising muscles. A great option is cooked pasta with ½ cup of sauce and chicken breast. Avoid high-fat and high-fibre foods such as beans and friend foods. After a run, it’s important to load up on foods which help you recover and fight inflammation. Yogurt is a great source of protein, add in fruit and granola for an extra boost of carbs and fibre.”
To give you an idea of the best snacks to have pre and post workout, Joanna Dase, fitness expert at Curves.eu shares her ideas.
Pre workout foods to eat and drink
1. Yogurt with fruit
Having yogurt and fruit pre workout will send digesting carbs to your muscles for energy. Fat free plain Greek yogurt is packed with protein and will fill you up without leaving you feeling heavy. If you find the taste too tart, fruit such as blueberries will give the snack a sweet finish. Always stick to plain yogurt to reduce adding in extra sugars from flavoured options.
2.Apple with peanut butter
This combination is the perfect way to fix your sweet and savoury cravings. Chop ½ an apple up and dip into ½ tablespoon of reduced-fat peanut better. The apple is your source of glucose and carbohydrates, and the peanut butter brings in the protein and healthy fats.
3. Oats with eggs
If you want a fuller breakfast before you exercise, try having 40g cooked oatmeal with 2 egg whites or a whole egg. Oats provide a slow release of energy throughout the duration of the morning and helps to protect your heart health. Eggs are a great source of muscle-building protein as well as choline which is a nutrient vital to brain and liver health.
4. A fruit smoothie
A smoothie is a quick yet perfect snack before exercise. They provide the body with the two most important pre workout macronutrients: carbohydrates and protein. Pack yours full of nuts, yogurt, and soy milk to help contribute to muscle growth. At the same time, don’t overdo it by adding in too much sugar. A strawberry oatmeal smoothie has a rich and creamy texture and perfectly packed full of vital ingredients.
5. Trail mix
Trail mix is great before any workout. The raisins provide a quick burst of energy whilst the almonds are high in protein and filled with beneficial unsaturated fats. The added dried fruits, nuts and grains are packed with vitamins and minerals which your body needs before exercising. Be wary of serving sizes as the calorie count can be high, try to control portion sizes by storing them in small containers or food bags.
Post workout foods to eat and drink
1. Protein shake
Drinking a protein shake right after a workout helps to absorb more nutrients during the recovery period. A shake should consist of almost equal amounts of protein and carbs to provide the best benefits. A few favourites include banana nut shake, almond coconut, and berry smoothie.
2. Grilled chicken breast salad
Grilled chicken breast is packed with protein and is a great lunch option after a morning session. The meat will bulk you up and help to refuel your body. The protein also helps to rebuild any damaged muscle fibres. The salad adds extra vitamins and nutrients, go for leafy greens, kale, and avocados.
3. High-protein bar
This is a perfect snack for those with busy lifestyles. The contents of protein and carbs make them an excellent choice for a post workout treat. They provide a boost of energy for exercise whilst aiding muscle repair. Be sure to check the labels and reviews as some are higher in sugar whilst others use sugar alcohols.
4. Tuna and crackers
This easy snack is full of protein, vitamins A, B-6 and B-12, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. One can of tuna provides up to 42g of protein whilst still being low in fat. Use whole grain crackers instead of processed ones for even more nutrition.
5. Salmon with sweet potato
This meal provides a nutrient-rich source of carbohydrates from the sweet potato and the salmon offers high amounts of protein and omegia-3 fatty acids. These have found to help reduce post-exercise muscle inflammation.
Curves.eu was speaking exclusively to Jogger.co.uk.