Ever wondered what the right protocol is for what to eat before and after a workout? Well, a lot of it comes down to food. What you eat before and after exercise can greatly influence how you feel, how well you perform, and whether you lose or gain weight. Many of the following recommendations come from Deborah Sable, CEO of Corefit, a corporate fitness company based in Los Angeles that is dedicated to educating Corporate America through on-site group training programs, as well as the Nutritional Twins in New York City.
Before your workout:
- Eat a good source of carbs and a lean protein about an hour before your workout. Enjoy greek yogurt, whole-wheat bread with jam, or almond butter on a cracker. Your muscles rely on carbohydrate foods like bread, pasta, rice, fruit, and vegetables for a quick energy source. You need protein to build and maintain muscles. The combination of carbs and protein help you have longer-lasting energy during your workout.
- If it will be more than an hour before you exercise, eat something more substantial like a PB&J sandwich or a turkey wrap with lettuce and tomato.
During your workout:
- Drink plenty of water. For strenuous workouts, drink a beverage with electrolytes.
- Ever heard of the 90-minute rule? If you exercise longer than 90 minutes, you will need to replenish while exercising. The reason for this is that as you work out, your body gets the energy it needs from glycogen, a type of carbohydrate stored in muscles. Eating a bar with protein/carbs or sipping a sports drink helps replenish the glycogen and helps you with your workout.
After your workout:
- Get a good source of protein and a healthy carb within 10-60 minutes after your workout – the protein will help accelerate muscle growth and repair and the carb will help restore glycogen. If you just need a snack, try a hard-boiled egg or a protein shake.
- If you have lunch after a workout, eat brown rice or sweet potato with your protein. For dinner, try tomatoes or vegetables instead with a protein like grilled chicken.
- Eat fruit – eating fruit high in antioxidants like blueberries is great after a workout. It helps neutralize the damage of free radicals that occurs during and after exercise.
- It’s important to never workout out on an empty stomach because your blood sugar will drop which increases your chances of passing out or getting sick.
- For weight loss, combine exercise with a calorie-controlled diet void or limited of refined, sugar-rich foods and beverages and high-fat and fried foods.
Enjoy your workouts, give your body the proper fuel it needs to run at optimal performance and learn what to eat before and after a workout. Per Corefit’s great motto: “Remember if you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?”