Especially after stuffing yourself silly during Thanksgiving, you might become possessed with the need to get fit and refurbish your workout routine. However, exercising requires more mindfulness than one might think: what you eat before and after your workout, as well as how consistent you are with hydration, impacts how effective those workouts are.
Before a workout, you’ll need to energize. You’re demanding that your body do more work than usual — that exerition is what builds muscle. Still, to accomplish all that extra physical activity, you’ll need to make sure your body has the resources to spend. According to Go Red for Women, you should load up on healthy carbohydrates two hours before you plan to work out. If you’re unable to do that, a great snack you can try at least ten minutes before working out is a banana. NSU nutritionist Dr. Marilyn Gordon supports this advice and adds that these snacks will help “you pick up energy that way you can work out hard and get the most out of your time. [They] also keep glucose levels stable.” Plus, packed with carbohydrates and potassium, bananas won’t feel too heavy in your stomach, but they’ll get you through your workout. Foods on a similar level are dates or mango. Of course, workouts will also demand that your body produce sweat to cool you down, so you should also be sure to fill up on fluids before working out. If you make an effort to provide your body with these basic necessities, your body will thank you for it by giving you the tools you need to kill your workout.
During a workout, you typically won’t need to eat. Exceptions include high intensity workouts like running a marathon or triathlon. However hard your workout is though, you’ll be using a lot of fluids and should hydrate accordingly. Investing in a reusable water bottle is one easy way to do this, but if you’re lacking, gyms usually provide users access to water fountains.
What you consume after a workout is also pivotal to muscle growth and metabolism efficiency. Eating foods heavy in protein is best because protein is key to repairing the muscles you’ve exerted to make them stronger for next time around. Beyond that, reload on carbohydrates, too. Go Red for Women says, “in the 20-60 minutes after your workout, your muscles can store carbohydrates and protein as energy and help in recovery.” Again, ensuring you are hydrated is important in every stage of fitness, and that doesn’t change after you leave the gym.
Overall, eating healthy forms of specific macromolecules is key to getting the most out of the work you’re putting in, and that means there’s no need for fancy supplements. According to Dr. Gordon, “It’s not really a requirement to buy special pre-workout and special bars… Real food works really well. It also provides energy, multiple vitamins and minerals, and fiber — good things for health and performance.”