We all know that our nutrition will affect our workouts. If we eat unhealthy foods we will feel sluggish or sick. If we eat healthier, our workouts will be more effective and we will get better results long term, but how can we maximize our nutrition to get the most benefit from our workouts?
Here are some tips to incorporate into your nutrition plan BEFORE you workout:
1- For a cardiovascular workout – have some fast-acting carbohydrates at least one-hour prior. Glycogen in our body helps to fuel cardiovascular exercise. Consuming too little carbohydrates can cause us to “hit the wall” (ask any runner!) soon after we start. Bananas, whole-wheat toast, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal are great options before cardio-focused workouts.
2- For a strength-training workout – have a combination of carbohydrates and protein. Protein is composed of essential amino acids that our bodies need to fuel and rebuild muscles. Protein is also very difficult to digest in large doses, so add easy-to-digest carbohydrates to the mix for digestion. Toast with peanut butter, beans with avocado, quinoa, or a handful of edamame will help you build muscle without feeling uncomfortable.
3- Drink Water
Water not only keeps you hydrated, it aids digestion, increases satiety, and regulates body temperature. Drink small portions of water before, during, and after a workout. 40 ounces is highly recommended for a 45-minute class, and consume more if you feel thirsty. We should all consume a minimum of 2.5 liters of water each day.
For all of the above, don’t go overboard. If you’re exercising first thing in the morning and you still feel full from last night’s dinner, you’re probably fine to exercise without (unless your workout is over an hour). For evening workouts, grab a small snack around 4pm for a 6 or 7pm sweat session.