Best Food for Your Workout

Posted on 02 January 2014

A new year brings a fresh chance to assess your goals, clear your head and make a plan about how you're going to approach the next 12 months. For many of us our new year's resolutions include fitness goals such as to lose that extra five kilos, master a handstand push up, or get to an extra yoga class a week. However, whilst turning up to an extra Bikram class a week will definitely do you lots of good, fitness is only part of the equation. To get the best results, no matter your goal it is also important to think about the best nutrition to reach your goals.The right nutrition will help you see results quicker, overcome plateaus, and provide you with more energy and strength during your workout.



Whilst some trainers believe exercising on an empty stomach will burn more fat, if you want to see results faster a pre-workout snack will allow you to perform at higher intensity for longer and therefore improve at a quicker rate. 
Pre Workout snacks should be eaten around an hour before you workout, combining carbohydrates and protein. This snack should contain around 150-250 calories. 

Great Pre Workout snacks include:

For Yoga- A coconut water and a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit. (For lower intensity activities like yoga a pre-workout snack is not as essential for sustained energy but hydration is very important. Dehydration can make a low intensity workout seem much harder than it actually is. Having coconut water before a workout is a quick way to hydrate, providing your body with essential nutrients for hydration. A small handful nuts will keep distracting hunger pangs away during your workout). 

For HIIT-A Protein bliss ball (For high intensity sessions, if you haven't eaten the energy you burn may come from your muscles, so it is essential to have a snack beforehand. To avoid cramps it is best to avoid heavy foods or liquid. So a light bliss ball made of dates, nuts and oats is the perfect option to give you sustained energy during your session). 

For Running- Whole wheat toast with sliced banana and peanut butter. (The peanut butter provides protein, the toast provides carbohydrates for sustained energy and the banana offers potassium which is depleted when you sweat). 

For Weights- A small portion of chicken or turkey. (For weight training, what you eat after your workout is more essential than what you eat before. How it also important that your body has fuel before your workout to get the best rep count. A small portion of protein like chicken will help sustain your strength during your workout). 



However, whilst eating before a workout is important, eating after a workout is crucial to your progress. To fully recover after exercise (remember that exercise creates small tears in your muscles that need to repair in order to increase muscle tone and look leaner) your body needs protein and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates replenish fuel stores and protein helps your muscles repair. The protein you need will depend on your size, whilst the carbohydrates will depend on the duration and intensity of your workout. 

For Long (over an hour)/ High Intensity sessions- Wholewheat wrap with chicken breast, avocado and veggies. (High Intensity sessions are a strain on your muscles and energy stores so they both need to be replenished. Having a larger meal containing essential fats, carbohydrates and protein will rebalance your body for optimum recovery). 

For Moderate (30-45min)/ Medium Intensity sessions- A Protein shake of protein powder, peanut butter and banana. (A Protein shake is a great way to ensure your body gets the protein it needs for muscle repair. By adding carbohydrates such as a banana or nut fats such as peanut butter, when you've had a gruelling session, you can make sure you are replenishing energy stores at the same time). 

For Short (under 30 min)/Low Intensity Sessions- Protein shake consisting of protein powder, coconut water, mixed berries and half a banana. (For low intensity sessions, like yoga your muscles need to recover so it is essential to get protein. However, as less energy is expended, replenishing energy stores is less essential so minimum carbohydrates are needed). 

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