Mitalee Doshi, Founder of Oomph Nutrition tells us what to eat before and after workouts.
The best foods to eat before and after workouts to make it all worth it
Achieving optimal results by a workout depends on certain aspects – the most important of them is one’s diet. What you eat before (and if needed, during) your workout is crucial for fuelling the workout itself and is responsible for muscle building. What you eat after your workout ensures that your body has all of the supplies it needs in order to recover, adapt and improve. The fluids and food you have before/during/after workout go a long way towards making sure that your exercise has the best impact on your health. Mitalee Doshi, Founder of Oomph Nutrition tells us what to eat before and after workouts.
One should never hit the gym on an empty stomach. Your pre workout meal is the meal that plays the largest role in supplying your body with everything it will need to ensure optimal performance during your workout.
Carbohydrates are essential for slow and steady energy release throughout the workout. It tops up your fuel levels and boosts your brain power and concentration for the session. Protein is required to build and maintain muscles and for healthy blood cells as they deliver nutrients and oxygen to working muscles. So make sure your meal has these foods. You can also go for lauki juice instead of protein shake post workout.
Sources of carbohydrates
Foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as wholegrain pasta, roti, oats, fruits, vegetables and bread are the best sources of energy that can help you start your workout well, and keep at it without experiencing dizziness. They slowly release glucose in the bloodstream. These 5 carbs can actually help you lose weight.
Sources of proteins
Make sure you buy good quality protein which digests slowly, releasing amino acids (building blocks) into the bloodstream. Good sources are paneer, eggs, chicken, fish, casein supplement. You may also want to know if whey protein has any dangerous side effects.
Meals before a workout can be oats / muesli and milk or egg omelets with bread or paneer bhurji with roti or grilled chicken sandwich. Meal before cardio can be a fruit and milk or fruit and nuts.
Timing of the meal
It should be about 45 minutes prior to exercise. This allows body enough time to digest and begin nutrient absorption. The individual should not feel heavy or nauseous while under the pressure of workout. Cardiovascular training should be performed at a gap of 2- 2 ½ hours after the last meal.
Post workout nutrition
Gaining strength and muscle doesn’t occur while you workout but after, during the recovery stage. That is why post workout nutrition holds great importance. After your workout, you must try to eat a ‘recovery meal’ within one hour if possible. Your muscles are weaker after the training session because they have been torn down and have been damaged by an intense workout, so this meal is all about refuelling what you’ve lost and providing the raw materials needed for healing.
During the workout, the body has endured drop in blood glucose levels due to rapid use of glucose to fuel the workout, muscle breakdown due to overload and free radical attack due to high energy use and increase in stress levels. The sooner you start refueling your body, the better off you’ll be. Research shows that your body’s ability to refill muscle stores is higher within one hour after your workout. So make sure you eat the following.
Instant energy is required to replenish diminished glucose stores. Glucose needs to be immediately supplied for instant absorption into the bloodstream. Alternatively, bananas or fruit juice can also be consumed. It should be taken immediately after the workout.
It is essential to supply all amino acids in ample quantity for muscle repair. It should be of high quality and which quickly releases amino acids into the bloodstream. Good sources are whey or eggs. They should be consumed 10- 20 minutes after glucose. Consuming high-quality protein after exercise gives your muscles the fuel needed for both repair and for boosting growth. Here is a vegetarian diet plan for bodybuilders.
To fight free radicals, reduce muscle breakdown and to protect body tissues, antioxidants are required like vitamin A, C, E, zinc, selenium. The requirement for the antioxidants post workout is not met through food sources alone and thus it is essential to take supplements along with glucose.
Post cardio meal
The ideal post-workout meal consists of a blend of carbohydrates and protein. It can be 45 minutes after cardiovascular training. You can eat poha/ upma and curd or cereal and milk or a chicken sandwich.
It’s important to drink fluids before, during and after your workout as it is great for rehydrating the cells. Without sufficient water during exercise, your body temperature can be extremely high, so it is very important to stay hydrated to cool your body down.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends to follow these guidelines:
- Drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (0.5 to 0.7l) of water two to three hours prior to your workout.
- Drink about 1/2 to 1 cup (0.12 to 0.23l) of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout. You may need more depending on your size and if the weather is warmer.
- Drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (0.5 to 0.7l) of water after your workout for every pound (0.5 kg) of weight you lose during the workout.
- Water is generally the best way to replace lost fluids. But if you’re exercising for more than 60 minutes, use a sports drink. Sports drinks provide not only fluid, but carbohydrate and sodium.
They can also help in maintaining your body’s electrolyte balance and give you a bit more energy.