Give your body the best fuel it can get.
Working out and eating right go hand in hand when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, but it goes far beyond just cutting back on carbs or loading up on protein. You should be eating the right amounts of nutrients before and after your workouts, so that the effects have their maximum impact on your body.
Before Your Workout
Carbs, carbs, carbs. Yes, carbs are good, and they ensure that you have enough glucose in your system to power through your workout. Eat simple carbohydrates, avoiding processed carbs like white bread, between 30 minutes and 3 hours before your workout. Examples include:
a granola bar
a piece of fruit
Greek yogurt (this contains carbs and protein)
a rice cake
a piece of toast
If you are doing a long workout or plan on weight lifting, it’s a good idea to also include protein before your workout. Pick something easily digestible, so that you don’t get an upset stomach during your cardio. Combine one of these items with a carbohydrate from the list above:
a slice of turkey
a hardboiled egg
milk or soy milk
Make sure you are fully hydrated before and during your workout. Drink at least 2 cups of water 2 to 3 hours before exercise and 1 cup of water 10 to 20 minutes before working out. If you are doing a very long workout or run, you may want to bring a beverage with added electrolytes with you.
After Your Workout
Make sure you eat something soon after your workout, preferably within an hour, to replenish muscles and avoid a drop in blood sugar. Your post workout meal should be high in complex carbs and protein. Opt for things like quinoa, brown rice, nuts and whole wheat bread, and add protein like fish, chicken breast, eggs or tofu. Try one of these post-workout snacks:
1 cup of chocolate milk
whole wheat toast with peanut butter
veggie omelet with 1/2 avocado and roasted potatoes
whole wheat pita stuffed with 2 tablespoons hummus and grilled veggies