When it comes to working out, we all hope to gain the best experience we can from our session. Most bodybuilders and athletes know the type of diet they should stick to for building muscles, but they are confused about the right timing. There are foods you take to gain energy to carry you through the workout session, and there are those you choose to enhance muscle recovery after exercise. Below is a list of foods to take before, during and after a workout:
Foods To Consider Before Working Out (Workout Nutrition)
What and when you decide to eat before exercise can have a significant effect on your workout. Working out on an empty stomach is never a good idea as you are likely to get dizzy and nauseous along the way. The foods you decide to pick before your workout should boost and sustain your energy levels and hydrate your body. Here are some of the pre-workout foods you shouldn’t miss:
Eating protein before exercise is vital for that athletic performance. Protein is essential as it plays the following roles:
- It increases muscle protein synthesis- MPS is a naturally occurring process whereby protein is produced to repair damage to muscles as a result of intense exercise.
- Leads to an increase in strength and lean body mass.
- It can reduce the possibility of muscle damage- amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. These amino acids serve to minimise deterioration and damage to muscles as well as increase muscle size.
Some of the sources of proteins you should include are; fish, e.g., Salmon and Tuna, nuts, beans, eggs, chicken breast, eggs, etc.
To build muscles, consume between 1.6 -1.8 grams of protein for each pound of bodyweight.
Carbohydrates serve to provide your body with the energy needed for your workout session. Different carbohydrate sources deliver different results. Simple carbohydrates are short-term energy sources meaning that they will provide a rapid rise in the energy levels. White bread is a common source of simple carbohydrates.
On the other hand, complex carbohydrates release energy slowly. This is because they have either fibre or starch. A common source of this type of carbohydrates is whole-grain food. Carbohydrates are essential before work out for the following reasons;
- They provide energy through the entire workout session- this is the primary function of pre-workout carbs. Lack of sufficient energy will make you feel weak and possibly abandon your workout immediately signs of fatigue kick in.
- They preserve muscle and liver glycogen leading to an increase in muscle growth and retention.
- They stimulate the release of insulin- this coupled with proteins, helps improve protein synthesis, thereby preventing protein breakdown.
Some of the useful sources of carbohydrates are lentils, whole-grain bread, oats, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. If time does not allow you to prepare these meals, you may opt for fat-free yogurt or fruit such as a banana or an apple.
Water is essential before hitting the gym. Staying hydrated is crucial for your health, especially if you are working out and losing plenty of water through sweating. To ensure you remain hydrated, drink 16-20 ounces of water for at least 4 hours before working out; it will enhance and sustain performance. Dehydration may result in low energy during exercise as well as muscle cramps and spasms.
What To Consume During Workout
If you are only working out for several hours, rejuvenate your system by frequent sips of water. However, for long high-intensity workouts, you need to eat. Here are the things to take during your workout
It keeps you hydrated as well as reduces muscle cramps as you exercise.
Additionally, it regulates your body temperature. Therefore, drink 7-10 ounces of water during exercise. This may vary depending on your individual preference, as some prefer to wait till after exercise to take water.
This is especially useful for people with more intense exercise schedules. You may opt to consume drinks such as energy drinks, coconut water, or chocolate milk provided they deliver the required energy. While drinking these fluids, ensure you do not consume too much as this may lead to irritations during the workout.
Eat Some Carbs And Proteins
Eat about 50-100 calories for each half hour you work out. These serve to fuel your system.
During exercise, opting to use supplements such as Anavar is an excellent choice as it will not only give you more motivation to work out, but also, you will work out for longer.
What To Eat After Working Out
Choosing the right post-workout meal is essential as it helps your muscles to grow and recover and also prepares you for your next workout. Good exercise depletes your glycogen levels, bringing the need to refuel your body. Here are the foods to take after a workout:
These serve to recharge and restore the energy supplies used up during the workout. The depletion rates of your glycogen levels vary depending on the kind of exercise you engage in. Endurance sports such as cycling and running can consume more of your energy as compared to resistance training such as weight lifting. Consume these carbs, preferably within 30 minutes after the workout for proper glycogen resynthesis. Additionally, the consumption of carbs and proteins after a workout leads to insulin secretion promoting glycogen synthesis. Some sources of carbs include; pasta, oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice
Intense exercise leads to muscle protein breakdown. Thus, taking proteins after a great workout provides the body with the amino acids it requires to repair and rebuild those proteins. This is essential as there is an increase in muscle as well as maintaining them. Consuming proteins after a workout prevents loss of lean mass, thus contributing to a muscular and toned appearance. You can acquire these proteins from chicken, eggs, salmon, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.
In moderate amounts, healthy fats are essential after working out. Some of the sources for these fats are avocados, nuts, and nut butter. Although fats may slow the absorption of nutrients, they do not reduce their benefits. According to a study, whole milk is more effective in promoting muscle growth than skim milk after a workout.
Hydrate using water
This is basically to replenish the fluids you lost during exercise in the form of sweat.
Nutrition is paramount while exercising. A bad diet will most likely hinder your progress in achieving your goals in the gym. Take time to keenly observe your dietary habits so that you know what to add or eliminate for maximum gains. Stick to your workout schedule and proper diet, and you will begin noticing the changes you aspire in your body.