When it comes to working out, we often focus on things like proper form to prevent injury, staying hydrated, and the mental game of enduring through a physical challenge. It’s amazing what our bodies can do when we are challenged to push ourselves physically.
But a successful workout isn’t just about what we are doing during the time we are a class, the gym, or the park outside. What you put into your body before a workout can enhance your performance during a workout. And what you put into your body after a workout maximizes the results of all the hard work you put in during the workout. Imagine noticing that during a workout you feel less sluggish and have more endurance or noticing improved muscle definition and quicker recovery. Nutrition has a lot to do with that.
You may not need to be as intensely focused on fitness nutrition like Lebron or Serena, but there are simple tweaks that us "normals" can make to improve our workout performance and results. After scouring recommendations from nutritionists, health experts and dietitians, there seems to be consensus on the best way to fuel up for for your fitness.
Before Your Workout
Forty-five to 60 minutes before a workout, snack on something light that offers a balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein to satisfy your hunger and boost your energy. Here are some ideas for pre-workout eats:
Greek yogurt with granola and berries
Smoothie with protein powder, almond milk, avocado and banana
Sliced apples topped with almond butter
After Your Workout
It’s important to eat soon after your workout ends to assist your body’s recovery, reduce muscle soreness, and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Health experts recommend refueling with a mix of carbs and protein. Consider chewing on these after your workout:
Avocado toast with whole grain bread
Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables
Oatmeal with protein powder, banana, and sliced almonds
And please remember to stay hydrated all day long, not just during your workout.
Level Up Your Workout
Think of nutrition as a cooperative helper to your body when it comes to fitness. You may even notice that you find your workouts more enjoyable and energizing because your body is better prepared to handle the intensity. And when you notice your body bouncing back quicker and even accelerating whatever goals you have for your physique, you’ll wonder why you never focused on your pre- and post-workout nutrition before. Good news is, when you know better, you do better. With some simple planning, you will set yourself up for fitness success and see even greater results.