Washington D.C [USA]: The right kind of food can make or break a workout routine and possibly impact the desired results. If you are trying to lose weight then it is important to know what you eat before, during and after you exercise.
So what to munch on? According to experts, quality carbohydrates are important pre-workout and lean proteins post-workout. Before you start with your exercise, eat carbohydrates, but not too much, said Nancy Cohen, a professor specialising in nutrition, reported CNN.
Cohen recommended consuming one to four grams of carbohydrates per every 2.2 pounds of body weight if you are planning to exercise for longer than an hour. Eating about an hour to four hours before working out is perfect for your fitness regime.
A review paper by researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia suggested that carbohydrate ingestion can improve endurance exercise performance. The paper was published in the ‘Journal of Nutrition’.
The researchers assessed 50 randomised studies on carbohydrate ingestion and endurance exercise. The researchers found that the data in the studies provide evidence that consuming carbohydrates can enhance endurance exercise performance in adults.
“By eating carbohydrate-rich foods that are low in fat and low or moderate in protein, you can make sure you have enough muscle glycogen as fuel for your physical activity. This might include low-fat granola bars, fig bars, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, banana, yoghurt, pasta or other high-carbohydrate foods,” Cohen said.
Staying hydrated is equally essential, consuming lots and lots of water can do the trick.
“Sufficient fluids are also important. In general, you can consume 5 to 10 millilitres of water per kilogram of body weight in the two to four hours before a workout,” she said.
If you prefer to exercise in the morning, experts are divided on whether you should eat ahead of time.
It should be your own decision on whether to eat breakfast before or after exercise, said Stuart Phillips, a professor.
“While exercising on an empty stomach may burn fat, it does not seem to be beneficial in the long run. And, if the fatigue means that you are not able to exercise at full performance, then you will also not be able to sustain as effective a workout,” she added.
So try eating eggs, cereal, and milk, toast with peanut butter, or fruit and yoghurt to fuel a morning workout.
One of the most important things to do during exercise is to hydrate and if your workout is 45 minutes or less, fluids may be all you need to keep you going.
“Depending on the sport and the comfort of the individual, a range of foods or beverages could be useful here,” Cohen said.
“After long or very high-intensity workouts, consuming 1 to 1.2 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per hour for four to six hours, along with 15 to 25 grams of protein within the first hour after exercise, will replenish muscle glycogen stores as well as support muscle protein synthesis,” Cohen said.
“After lighter workouts, eat a well-balanced meal, including high-quality protein and carbohydrates, within two to three hours after finishing, and drink enough fluids to replace losses,” Cohen added.
If you experience muscle pain after you exercise certain fruit juices, such as watermelon juice and cherry juice, can reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
All in all, a post-workout routine should include fluids to rehydrate, carbohydrates to refuel and protein to repair.