Everyone’s nutritional requirements are different: what your body needs to function depends on your age, weight, and the type of workout you plan to do. By eating the right foods (and the right quantities), you’ll help your body get the amount of carbs, fats and proteins that it needs to satisfy hunger, sustain a workout, and prepare the body’s recovery process.
Exercising isn’t just the physical part – it’s also what you eat before and after. The right snacks can play a huge role in how effective your fitness sessions will be, whether they happen daily, weekly… or occasionally.
What to eat before a workout
Experts say a pre-workout snack should be consumed 30-60 minutes before the gym, as the goal is to maximize performance and prepare the body for the physical strain that’s about to come. Eating before a workout will keep you fuelled and will also avoid low blood sugar, fatigue, and light-headedness – therefore ‘skipping calories’ for the illusion of losing that extra bit of weight just won’t do. If you’re searching for great pre-workout snack ideas, look no further…
Smoothies – If you want an excuse to use that brand new blender sitting in your cupboard, this is it. Just mix ½ cup of fruit, ½ cup of low-fat Greek yogurt, and one cup of your favorite fruit juice. You’ve just made a shake that’s full of good carbs and high-quality protein.
Click here to try our super green smoothie recipe
Click here to try our frozen orange and mango smoothie
Peanut butter apple – This is a quick carb fuel-up for on-the-go people. It’s simple, really; just slice up a medium apple, measure out two tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter, and dip away to your heart’s content.
Wholegrain bread – This fibre-filled snack will gradually release carbohydrates into the bloodstream, keeping energy levels consistent. Wholegrain bread pairs very well with a variety of foods, so whatever mood you’re in, coat it with a bit of honey or a slice of skinny turkey breast.
Bananas – Bananas are basically nature’s power bar. Failing to take advantage of these easily digestible carbs would be a travesty.
What to eat after a workout
Eating a well-considered snack after a workout is important, because the body needs to restore hydration and rebuild the tissue that breaks down during exercise. The idea of ‘rewarding yourself’ after a work out might be an appealing one, but overindulging will only leave you feeling sluggish. After physical exercise, your body goes through its anabolic phase where it repairs, replenishes, and recovers. Below are a few snack ideas that will make sure you end your workout on a high note…
Milk and cereal – There really isn’t a bad time to have cereal. Measure out one cup of low-fat milk and a cup of cereal. You’ll have a snack high in carbohydrates and good fibre.
Greek yoghurt – Did you know that Greek yoghurt has double the amount of protein compared to regular yogurt? You can have it alone or mix it with some fresh berries to reduce muscle soreness.
Scrambled eggs – If you’re looking for a heartier meal, scramble two eggs and mix them with chopped onions, bell peppers, and spinach. This hot meal will give you a protein boost as well as two of your five-a-day.
Click here to try our Indian scrambled egg with paratha
Fruit salad – Fruit is loaded with carbs and contains enzymes that break down nutrients that need to be delivered to muscles. If you don’t know what fruit to go with, choose pineapple: it has anti-inflammatory properties and is high in anti-oxidants.
Written by Annalisa D’Alessio @annaa18x