Discover the Best Foods to Eat Before and After Your Workout
We all know the discipline it takes to get in a good workout, whether it’s an aerobic activity or focused strength training. Why not optimize your efforts with the very best nutrition?
Fueling your success is easier than you think. Let’s start with pre-workout foods.
Best Foods to Eat Pre-Workout
Before you eat anything, drink water! Hydration helps to sustain you and can enhance athletic performance. If you work out in the morning, be sure to wake up early enough to eat something 30 to 90 minutes before you start your exercise – and keep the portion small.
Protein is vitally important to building, preserving, and repairing muscle, especially with any kind of strength training. Resistance exercise damages the muscles but consuming protein fuels the body with amino acids, including branched-chain amino acids, which are particularly helpful to recovery. The American College of Sports Medicine says that having pre-exercise protein improves body composition by increasing your metabolism up to 48 hours after exercise, which basically means you’ll get stronger and leaner!
Fuel your body with complex carbohydrates to increase energy before a workout. Great complex carbs to eat are fiber-rich fruits like bananas, berries, or apples. Complex carbohydrates have lower glycemic index scores than foods containing simple carbohydrates (i.e., sugar), and they help your body maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout your workout.
Protein + Carbs for Best Results
A host of studies suggest that protein and carbohydrates together make a perfect pre-exercise snack or meal. Some examples are Greek yogurt (it has super high protein content) and berries, a banana and nut butter, an egg on whole-grain toast, oatmeal with protein powder mixed in, a low sugar/quality protein powder drink, or apples and almond butter.
What to Avoid Pre-Workout
You have the “dos,” now here are the “dont’s.”
Don’t eat a lot of fat and don’t eat refined, simple sugars. Fat takes too long to digest; your body can’t readily use it. And sugar will cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash.
Best Foods to Eat Post-Workout
When you work out, your muscles deplete their glycogen stores for fuel. Also, some proteins in your muscles suffer damage. Your body immediately tries to replenish glycogen and repair and regrow muscle proteins.
Carbohydrates and Protein
You can help facilitate this natural process by fueling up with…you guessed it, carbohydrates, and protein. Just remember that strength training requires more protein replenishment and endurance sports require more carbohydrates. As long as you get both, you’re covered as consuming both carbs and protein after exercise can maximize protein and glycogen synthesis.
While a fatty meal is not recommended after a workout, a moderate amount of omega-3 fatty acids, like the fat you find in salmon or tuna, does deliver beneficial anti-inflammatory and reparative effects.
The same small meals that are good pre-workout are also good post-workout. For more substantial meals, include salmon and sweet potato, or chicken breast and brown rice. If you’re on the run, a nutritious protein drink works too.
What to Avoid Post-Workout
Don’t fill up with fatty foods like pizza, potato chips, French fries, or hamburgers. Exercise depletes you and fatty foods, especially ones that contain trans fats, tax your body. It truly sabotages your efforts!
Don’t go low carb after a workout. You need healthy complex carbohydrates (avoid sugar-filled energy bars and protein drinks) to replenish your glycogen reserves.
OMNI Protein: A Great Pre & Post-Workout Solution
The last thing you need is to make pre- and post-workout fuel complicated. OMNI Protein, developed by Daniel Amen, MD, and Tana Amen, BSN, RN, delivers 22 grams of protein. Its plant-based protein blend offers a complete protein.
The addition of glutamine and branched-chain amino acids are especially helpful for protein synthesis and exercise recovery, while fiber ensures satiety and digestive enzymes promote healthy digestion. Equally important is what it does not include – no artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, soy, dairy, sugar, or GMOs.
Available in a smooth-tasting chocolate or vanilla flavor, just mix it with 8-10 ounces of water, almond milk, coconut milk, or another beverage you like. Add berries, banana, greens, healthy fats, or other healthy foods to make a delicious smoothie.
OMNI Protein will hydrate you and fuel you at the same time!
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.