Let’s be real; getting to the gym or making time to get moving is only half the battle. Putting in your best effort once you’re there can be equally challenging. Sure, some of it may be mental. Maybe you had an exhausting day at work or with your kids, and consider yourself lucky to have summoned the energy to even lace up your tennis shoes.
But have you ever thought that what you’re putting into your body before and after your workout may have just as much of an impact on your performance?
Yes, food isn’t just good for entertaining friends and enjoying over brunch. It fuels us through our day, and more importantly, helps us make the most out of our workouts.
We know what you’re thinking: Great, one more thing I have to think about!
But don’t fret. The good news is the best pre-and-post workout foods are simple, and many are most likely already part of your grocery list.
Protein and carbs.
Yes, that’s it. Having a healthy combination of protein and carbs 30-90 minutes before you work out (so you don’t feel bloated), and within 30-60 minutes after your workout (when your body is most receptive to the nutrients) is all you need!
What is the best kind? We’re glad you asked.
Protein helps increase your strength, and it also helps with muscle recovery, while your muscles use the glucose (sugar) from carbs for fuel. Here are a few easy foods to try before and after working out:
Lean meats and fish
Make a batch of low-fat meats like grilled chicken and roasted turkey then shred or dice them up for an easy grab-and-go snack. Baked salmon is a great go-to as well!
Greek yogurt or cottage cheese and fruit
This combo of protein from cottage cheese or yogurt and carbs from fruit (like bananas) is perfect!
Whole grain toast and peanut butter (or any nut butter)
Just one slice of whole grain bread or toast is a good source of carbs. Peanut butter, or your favorite nut butter, adds the tasty protein.
Whether you prefer hard-boiled or scrambled eggs, they are a great source of protein that can help you before and after your workout.
Low-fat Chocolate Milk
This is especially good post workout because it’s a great mix of carbs and protein, and it also helps hydrate you after a workout.
These are just a few of our favorite choices, but there plenty to choose from. The important thing to take away from this is your body needs the proper sustenance to do its best work. It is also important to note the amounts of each of these vary per individual. We try to keep our snacks at 100-150 calories, both before and after our workout, but you may need a little more or less depending on your body and what type of workout you do. Always follow up your snack with a healthy meal (2-3 hours later) and, of course, plenty of water!
Do you have a favorite pre-or-post workout snack? Share in the comments?http://www.self.com/story/what-a-registered-dietitian-says-you-should-eat-before-and-after-a-workout