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Don’t let all of your hard efforts when working out go to waste by not nourishing your body with the correct foods at the wrong times! By eating certain foods before and after you train can help maximize your efforts. Finding a perfect balance of protein, carbs and fats is key to helping you power through your workout, recover more quickly afterwards and help avoid fatigue. 

It is very important to try and get carbs and protein in around your training window – it’s a good idea to eat within an hour before you plan to work out and within two hours after completing your work out. Let’s start with pre-workout! Here are some great ideas:

  • Bananas: loaded with carbs and potassium, bananas aid in supporting your nerve and muscle function. 
  • Oats: packed with fiber, carbs are slowly released during your workout, which helps keep you going. The vitamin B found in oats help convert carbs into energy too.
  • Grilled chicken breast, broccoli and sweet potato: chicken breast is one of the best sources of protein, and the balance of carbs found in broccoli and sweet potato will keep you energized throughout your workout. 
  • Dried fruit: dried fruit is easy to digest and is loaded with simple carbs.
  • Whole grain bread: a wonderful source of carbs! Pair with scrambled eggs or turkey slices for a boost of protein.
  • Greek yogurt topped with fruit: Greek yogurt is bursting with protein and fruit provides a healthy dose of carbs, so this combination is great to keep your energy levels high 

If you have specific goals you are working towards when it comes to exercise, you may need to be more rigid with what you eat prior to working out.

Bodybuilding:

Body builders focus on keeping lean while building a lot of muscle, so it is key to eat a meal that isn’t too heavy prior to exercise. The main focus of your pre-workout meal if this is your goal will be equal portions of protein and carbs. You should eat about an hour before working out to provide you with the energy you need, but you shouldn’t feel too full. Here’s some great ideas: 

  • Protein shake with whey protein isolate 
  • Egg whites
  • Carb dense fruit
  • Brown rice or long grain white rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole-wheat pasta 
  • Chicken breast or low-fat turkey 

Weight Loss:

This can be a tricky one, as you will need to eat enough to help power you through your workout whilst being mindful of the calorie content of the food you are eating. Having a light snack about 30 minutes prior to working out is ideal if this is your goal. Snacks that pair complex carbs with a lean protein are best:

  • Banana with nut butter 
  • Multigrain crackers with hummus
  • Apple with peanut butter 
  • Rice cake with nut butter
  • ½ cup whole grain pasta or rice 
  • Whole apple/mango/orange etc
  • ½ cup oatmeal with raisins or berries

After a workout, you will want to eat to assist with recovery; this helps you become stronger and will help prevent injuries later on. Here are some great post-workout food ideas that should ideally be consumed within two hours of working out:

  • Eggs: full of protein and amino acids, eggs are great for reducing muscle damage. Don’t skip the yolk as all the egg’s vitamin D are found there! 
  • Bananas: the high carb content of bananas make them ideal as a post-workout snack as they aid in restoring the damage that may have occurred during exercise. Bananas also have a lot of potassium which is great for your metabolism and keeping your water and chemical balances right.
  • Salmon: packed full of protein and omega 3 fatty acids, salmon is a great all-rounder! However, it is especially helpful at reducing inflammations and helping to repair any muscle damage that occurred during your workout. 
  • Avocado: avocados are high in fat, but the goods fats – mono-saturated fat! These kinds of fats are great for helping to heal your muscles and joints. The vitamin B found in avocados are also great at metabolizing carbs.
  • Sweet potato: plant based carbs, like sweet potato, are great when paired with protein, giving you an all-around excellent post-workout meal. 
  • Blueberries: antioxidants are very useful in increasing your recovery rate, so a handful of blueberries are an ideal snack. 

Continue to follow the Alloy Personal Training blog for more tips on your health.