When it comes to fitness, there are certain universal questions that Melanie hears almost every day:
How can I get the most out of my trainings? How can I lose weight faster, burn the most calories, and feel energized enough to power through every training session?
There’s one simple answer that applies to all of these questions: Eat! More specifically, eat the right foods at the right time.
What to Eat Before Your Workout
The best pre-workout bite contains some form of complex carbohydrate and a protein. Here are some of my easy meals and snacks to keep you energized during the workout. Make sure that your intake is at least 1-2h before your workout.
- Brown rice (1/2 cup) with black beans (1/2 cup)
- Small sweet potato with steamed or lightly salted broccoli
- Banana with almond butter (2 tablespoons)
- Oatmeal (1/2 cup) with berries (1 cup)
- Apple and Almonds (1/4 cup)
The Importance of Eating After Your Workout
During exercise, your body taps the fuel stored in your muscles known as glycogen for energy. After you’ve cranked out that last rep, your muscles are depleted of their glycogen stores and broken down. Eating (or drinking) something that combines protein and carbohydrates 40 minutes to an hour after your workout refills energy stores, builds and repairs your muscles that were broken down, and helps keep your metabolism burning strong.
The sooner you start refueling, the better off you’ll be. Research shows that your body’s ablity to refill muscle stores decreases by 50 percent if you wait to eat just two hours after your workout compared to eating right away. Try to plan ahead and bring your recovery drink to the gym, or pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat when you’re finished.
What to Eat After Your Workout
According to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine, consuming protein and a little carbohydrate is best immediately after exercise. Here are the foods I eat after my training sessions to help speed up recovery, maximize exercise benefits, and help maintain lean muscle to aid in weight loss.
- Protein shake made with one scoop of protein powder, almond milk, and hemp seeds (excellent protein source)
- Salad with roasted chickpeas (1/2 cup), light olive oil and vinegar
- Sautéed or steamed vegetables (1 cup) with tempeh or tofu (1/2 cup)
- Quinoa bowl (1 cup) with vegetables
- Poached eggs
- Burrito with beans (1/2 cup), brown rice (1/2 cup), guacamole (2 tablespoons), and salsa