So now that you have joined a gym, your hopes for fitness can be wiped out, if you do not pay proper attention to the foods you eat before and after a workout.
It’s not just exercise that is going to give you what you seek, it is more of a healthy combination of the right diet and the right type of exercise that will make the difference. Hence, it’s imperative to know what to eat before hitting the gym so that you can reap the maximum benefits from your workout.
Before entering the gym:
If coming to the gym has been a uphill task and you have somehow made it through the long walk, if you feel dead tired to pick up those dumbbells and move your hand, and if you feel lost out on energy just when you are about to begin exercising, be sure there is something wrong. And this has more to do what you have eaten and when you have last eaten it, before you entered your gym.
As per expert dieticians and weight loss experts, it is important to not binge too much before entering the gym else that feeling of fullness makes you nauseatic, sluggish and lethargic to do anything, and end up with muscle cramps. This happens because your body needs energy to digest the foods you eat so blood flow increases to your digestive system, leaving less energy-providing blood for muscles.
Exercising on an empty stomach isn't good either causing low blood sugar which can make you to feel weak and light-headed.
So just what must be your diet like, before you hit the gym?
Exercising on a full stomach will make you sluggish, while, exercising on an empty stomach will not give you enough strength to complete your workout. Preferably, don’t eat for about two hours prior to the gym.
ü Complex Carbohydrates
Foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain pasta, rice, and bread, and fruits and vegetables, are the best sources of energy that can help you start your workout well, and keep at it and you won’t experience dizziness.
ü Finish your meals in time
An hour before your workout, eat a small, easy-to- digest meal composed of complex carbohydrates and you won't experience low blood sugar jitters. Give an hour for your body to digest the food before you hit the gym.
ü Just do away with these
Avoid simple sugars, such as candies, up to 60 minutes before working out because they can lead to low blood sugar levels during exercise.
ü Drink, drink, drink
Most people don't drink enough water when they exercise. Water is an essential nutrient that is critical for optimal physical performance, resistance to injury, and maintenance of normal body temperature. It is recommended that you drink large quantities of water one or two hours before exercising to allow enough time for adequate hydration and urination.
Water- Keep drinking water every 15 to 30 minutes.
Sports Drinks - During prolonged periods of intense exercise, sports drinks can be useful. Most sports drinks are composed of simple carbohydrates and electrolytes. Drinks containing up to 10% carbohydrates deliver glucose to your muscles, that helps to improve endurance. However, drinks that exceed 10% carbohydrates, such as fruit juices and sodas, must be avoided as these can cause cramps, nausea and diarrhea.
Still more carbohydrates
Immediately after your workout, have a small snack that is rich in carbs in order to restore your muscle-glycogen levels.
Have a hearty meal and lots of water
About an hour after training, have a complete meal that includes all essential nutrients like complex carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, proteins et al in order to repair your damaged muscle tissues. Don't forget to drink more water after your workout to rehydrate your body.
Don’t consume fats
Though fat is not bad for your body, in fact it is a necessary part of everyone’s diet (good fats). However, after a workout, fats (whether good or bad) wouldn't be good to eat as it slows down digestion of protein and carbohydrates.
Eat as soon as possible
It is best recommended that you have your post work out meal within 30 minutes of coming out of the gym as it is during this time that your body can receive it's post workout nutrition.
Energy supplements and shakes….
Protein shakes and energy bars that are available in the market are considered good sources of energy and provide the essential nutrients. The protein shakes are available in the powdered form, that can be consumed with either water or milk and just two scoops of protein powder mixed with your choice of drink can give you 30+ grams of protein, and it only takes a minute to prepare the drink.
Same for energy bars that contain about 30 grams of energy and are easy to carry around as well. But one must opt for high quality brands that taste great and provide energy as well.
It can be difficult to find the motivation to be consistent towards your work out regime, but once you've integrated it into your daily life, you should make that extra effort to eat properly and get the most out of your training.
Follow these simple guidelines and improve upon your energy levels, before, during, and after your workout.
Note: Please restrict use of this article as a guideline only, and consult a physician for individual needs.