Most of the people who start their fitness journey say that the most difficult thing is exercising regularly. It does not matter how far you’ve come, you might still feel miserable at times, during workout, but did you know that there is a way to help your body recover faster and later workout even harder?
It has been scientifically proven that if you eat the right foods before exercise – you will be able to workout harder and if you eat the right foods after you have finished exercising – your body will be able to recover faster.
What you should eat before exercise
First of all, not all training sessions are the same, so it would be ideal if you decided what to eat by assessing the training that you plan to do that day. Some trainers say that you should not eat at all before training, but numerous researches have proven that by not eating before the training you lose more than you gain. Think of it like this – imagine your body as a car and food as a fuel and since car can’t go without fuel, neither can your body.
Protein bars are often promoted as healthy and nutritional foods ideal for athletes and people who are active – be cautious! Most of these bars that are currently on the market are filled with sugar and ingredients that are not known (like most of the processed foods). It would be the best to avoid protein bars if you can.
Ideally, you should snack at least one hour before the training and that snack should have lots of carbohydrates (professional athletes call this “carbo-loading”) – you can try some of these snacks: green smoothie, low-fat cheese with whole grain crackers, 2 slices of turkey with 1 slice of whole grain bread, veggies dipped in hummus or 1 piece of fruit (for example, bananas) and low-fat yogurt.
What you should eat after exercise
After you have finished with your training session, first make sure that you drink plenty of water, to keep your body hydrated (when our body is dehydrated, we tend to feel hungry even though we are not). When it comes the time to eat, don’t think that you can eat a large plate of your favorite dish just because you have exercised – by doing this you erase all your hard work. Instead, you should focus on a meal that can help your muscles recover faster and to help your body prepare for the next training session.
This meal should be all about protein and carbs – it does not have to be a lot, but in the amount that is appropriate. You could try some of these snacks if you are hungry right after you have finished exercising: chocolate milk, peanut butter and one slice of whole grain bread or whole grain crackers with one hard boiled egg.
Of these three, chocolate milk is the most popular in the fitness world – it has protein and carbs and at the same time it is able to replace fluid loss.