Food is the fuel that gives us energy, and what you eat before and after your workout is vital. Explore the nutrition tips that maximize your workouts.
4 Nutrition Tips That Maximize Your Workouts
Working out and eating go hand in hand because what you eat and how much can affect your performance. Some foods make for better fuel than others, and others are better after a workout instead of before.
Whether you’re training for a race or you exercise only occasionally, there are a few easy nutrition tips to maximize your workouts.
You shouldn’t eat directly before a workout, but you should make sure you eat a healthy breakfast. If you plan on working out early, you’ll want to finish eating breakfast at least an hour before hitting the gym.
Be sure to include carbohydrates since they’ll allow you to work out longer and at a higher intensity.
How much you eat also depends on how much time you have before the workout. A smaller portion size or snack is better 1-3 hours before because large amounts of food can slow you down or make you sick if you workout on a full stomach.
Conversely, you don’t want to work out when you’re starving; otherwise, you’ll feel light-headed. Try to finish larger meals at least several hours before strenuous exercise.
Now that you know how much and when to eat, what should you eat to feel the best for a workout? For workouts longer than 60 minutes, you’ll want to eat a carbohydrate-heavy snack, like an energy bar, banana, or yogurt.
If you don’t have an hour, meaning your body won’t digest the food in time, stick to a liquid, like juice or a sports drink, for the energy you need.
What you eat after a workout matters, too! Since you carb-load before exercising, a low-fat protein option will help your muscles recover. Beef jerky is a great workout snack thanks to its high protein and low-fat content, and the sodium can replenish electrolytes.
Many runners are strong believers in the restorative powers of chocolate milk. And something easy like a sandwich with peanut butter or lean meat like turkey can be a helpful post-workout meal.
Keeping these nutrition tips to maximize your workouts in the forefront of your mind before and after any exercise will not only help you push through a tough session but help you recover for the next time.
Recipes to Try:
- Blackberry Oat Smoothie
- Apricot Energy Balls
- Peas and Asparagus Pasta
- Roasted Radishes (Whole 30 Recipe)
- Vegetable Potato Nuggets
Stacey is a Southern girl with a taste for travel, thriving on the discovery of the world through food. After spending many years traveling and living overseas, she’s now back home in her beloved deep south enjoying life with her three little ones and loving the adventure. She’s a food stylist and food photographer, as well as, the creative behind Little Figgy Food, where she loves to inspire others to try new flavors and foodie techniques.