You know that food is the fuel of the body, so does that mean you need to “fuel up” right before a big workout? Not exactly. Solid nutrition is more about ongoing habits, rather than what you eat right before, or just after, exercise. Having said that, these tips can help you adjust your eating plan to properly support your workout routine.
Eat a light snack before exercise. No, you don’t want to fill up on a heavy meal. We’re talking about maybe 200 calories or so. Choose a low-fat snack that is higher in complex carbs and contains a moderate amount of protein. A high-protein diet is ideal most of the time, but eating a large amount of the nutrient right before a workout can lead to cramping. Complex carbs are more quickly available to use as energy during exercise.
Wait at least an hour before eating a regular meal. Give your body time to recover from an intense workout. Then refuel according to your eating plan; something high in protein would be ideal.
Choose foods that are dense in nutrients. Mostly “empty” calories comprise a lot of junk foods, meaning they are high in calories and yet low in vitamins, minerals, and important macro nutrients like protein. Avoid foods containing a high percentage of simple carbs or saturated fats, and choose the ones which provide vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, protein, and “good” unsaturated fats.
In fact, these five foods are great examples of nutrient-dense choices:
- Sweet potatoes – for their antioxidants, potassium, and complex carbs
- Spinach – at least one study has demonstrated spinach might improve muscle performance
- Beets – because they increase blood flow to working muscles, and are rich in antioxidants
- Oats – for their B vitamins and complex carbs
- Eggs – because they’re high in protein
Incorporate these foods into your weekly diet according to your eating plan’s allowances.
If you want to lose weight or simply maintain your current weight, call us to schedule an appointment. We can review your caloric needs, help you set obtainable goals, and guide you toward an eating plan that works for your body type and exercise habits.