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Fueling Your Workout: Nutrition Tips

Athletes in Motion
Athletes in Motion
April 25, 2017
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"Abs are made in the kitchen"This annoying piece of workout wisdom is true. What we eat before and after we hit the gym greatly impacts our results. You can work out all you want, but if the proper nutrition is not there, you are only holding yourself back from better gains. It'd be nice if we could eat how we like before a workout and not be affected, but that is not the way our bodies work.The flip side of this is that by simply adjusting how you eat, you can maximize your fitness efforts. More gain with less pain. Check out the tips below for food suggestions surrounding your workout.

The Pre-Workout Routine

Getting Energy and Endurance

To properly fuel your workout, focus on carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats. Your body gets energy from the carbs and fats and studies show carbs can improve your endurance during a workout. The protein assists your blood cells in bringing nutrients and oxygen to your muscles.You may be fine exercising on an empty stomach, but only if the exercise is a light one (like a walk). Some people prefer to exercise first thing before breakfast, but fueling up properly first will only serve to help power you through a workout.On the other extreme, leave the carboloading to the extreme athletes. Carboloading is not used as much anymore, and usually only before a big event. When you are training, it is not necessary.

When to Eat

Aim for a meal one hour to four hours before your workout. You want your body to be fueled up and ready to go, but eating too much too close before hitting the gym can make you feel sick to your stomach and result in cutting your workout short.

workout meal

What to Eat

You can enjoy foods like a whole wheat toast or a bagel, a banana, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, yogurt, pasta, eggs, stone-rolled oats, or sweet potatoes.

What to Avoid

Fried and greasy foods will not properly fuel your body (and, if anything, will likely make you feel sluggish).

Workout water

Water Vs Sports Drinks

Most people are just fine drinking plain water. A sports drink may be a better option if you are planning on playing a team sport or working out for over an hour in a hot atmosphere.Quality sports drinks consist of around 15 grams of carbohydrates, around 110 milligrams of sodium, and 30 milligrams of potassium in an 8-ounce drink.

A Post-Workout routine

Prioritizing Protein

Eating protein after you workout helps with the repair and growth of muscle tissue. You should aim for between 10 and 20 grams of protein. If you use a protein powder, use ones made from whey or milk proteins and drink them around thirty minutes after you exercise.

When to Eat

Aim for eating a meal within two to three hours of hitting the gym. You want to replenish your body with what it lost while working out like the glycogen. If you know you will be unable to eat a full meal within a decent time frame, eat a hearty snack after around twenty minutes to tie your body over until the bigger meal.

Post workout meal

What to Eat

You can enjoy foods like eggs, meat, chicken, whey protein, quinoa, brown rice, hummus, protein-rich smoothie, or an omelet.

What to Avoid

Avoid energy drinks, sugary drinks, and other unhealthy things. Your body needs to be properly refueled, not taking in a bunch of junk.Being more intentional about what you eat around your workout can help you workout better. Your body can push itself longer and farther during the workout while repairing itself better afterwards. Make your nutrition an important part of your fitness regime to see its impact on your end results.

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