Eating and exercise go hand in hand, and it is essential to maintain a healthy diet when working out. Whether you are working out to lose weight, build muscle, enhance health or compete in sports, what you eat before, during, and after a workout matter and it affects your results. You need to eat correctly to perform at your best without feeling weak, sluggish, or nauseous. The diet you choose to eat should assist you in meeting your workout goals.
Consider some of these tips for a healthy diet.
Eat a healthy breakfast
A healthy breakfast is necessary to start the day, especially if you workout in the mornings. If you exercise in the morning, get up early enough to have some breakfast at least one hour before the workout to be well-fueled. Studies have shown that eating or drinking carbohydrates before exercise can improve workout performance and may allow to work out for a longer duration or higher intensity. If you do not eat, you will feel sluggish or lightheaded during the exercise.
You can eat a light breakfast and drink something such as a sports drink. Consume carbohydrates for maximum energy for the workout. Some good breakfast options include whole-grain cereals or bread, low-fat milk, juice, banana, yogurt, and pancakes.
Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day is extremely important and its benefits cannot be underestimated. Never forget to drink fluids since the body needs adequate fluids before, during and after exercise to help prevent dehydration. During exercise, you lose water and electrolytes through sweat and replenishing these after a workout will help with recovery and performance.
Water is the best way to replace lost fluids, but if you are exercising for more than 60 minutes, use a sports drink. Sports drinks will help to maintain your body’s electrolyte balance and give the body a bit more energy as they contain carbohydrates.
Snacks are also an essential part of a healthy diet, and you can consume small meals right before and during exercise. If your workout is longer than 60 minutes, then you may benefit more by including a carbohydrate-rich snack during the workout. This will help you provide extra fuel for the body during the intense workouts. Some good snack options include energy bars, banana, apple or other fresh fruit, yogurt, fruit smoothie, whole-grain bagel or crackers, low-fat granola bar, peanut butter sandwich, sports drink or diluted juice.
A healthy snack is especially important to consume if you plan a workout several hours after a meal.
Eating after a workout is important
When the body is working out, the muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel. This leads to the muscles being partially depleted of glycogen. And some of the proteins in the muscles also get broken down and damaged. After the workout, the body needs to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair and regrow the muscle proteins. Consuming the right nutrients soon after your exercise will help the body get this done faster.
It is very important to eat carbs and protein after a workout as this helps your body by decreasing muscle protein breakdown, increasing muscle protein synthesis, restoring glycogen, and enhance recovery.
Protein helps to repair and build muscle and consuming a proper amount of protein after a workout gives the body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins. It also gives the body the nutrients required to build new muscle tissue. Studies have shown that consuming proteins will maximize the body’s ability to recover after exercise. After a workout, you need to eat protein-rich foods such as eggs, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, salmon, chicken, protein bar, and tuna.
Carbs help with recovery after a workout. The body’s glycogen stores are used as fuel during exercise, and consuming carbs after exercise helps replenish them. Endurance sports such as running, swimming, cycling cause the body to use more glycogen than normal resistance training. Hence, if you participate in endurance sports the body needs to consume more carbs. Eating plenty of carbs to rebuild glycogen stores is important for people who exercise twice in the same day. Foods rich in carbs include sweet potatoes, chocolate milk, quinoa, fruits like pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi, rice cakes, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, pasta, and dark, leafy green vegetables.
Fats are also necessary to consume after a workout. Studies showed that whole milk is more effective at promoting muscle growth after a workout than non-fat skim milk. It is important to limit the amount of fat consumed after exercise, but having some fat in your post-workout meal is needed and will not affect your recovery. Foods you can consume that are rich in fats include avocado, nuts, nut butter, dried fruits, and nuts.
Consuming a combination of the foods listed above can create many great meals that provide you with all the nutrients you need after exercise. Eating a proper amount of carbs and protein after exercise is essential and it will stimulate muscle protein synthesis, improve recovery and enhance performance during your next workout. And after a workout, it is important to not go much longer than 2 hours before eating a meal.
Tags: Gym diet plan, Diet and exercise plan, Gym diet plan for muscle gain