Do you ever wonder what to eat post-exercise to make the most of your workout? Well – wonder no more. If you follow certain guidelines when constructing your meal, it’s easy to give your body the sustenance it needs.
Exercise causes dramatic changes in hydration, glycogen levels, electrolyte balance and more. Our bodies like to stay regulated, so keeping these things in mind before, during, and after a workout is the key to success. Of course, the type of exercise that you are doing affects the timing and composition of your meals, but here are a few basic guidelines:
Do eat something before exercise. If you are an early-bird athlete, eat at least an hour before you workout or have a light breakfast. You should consider these 5 elements when planning your pre-workout meal:
- Low in fiber
- High in complex carbohydrates, moderate in protein
- Low in fat
- Familiar and tolerable
- Oatmeal with fruit
- Veggie omelets
- Hard boiled egg with almond butter and bananas
- Smoothies with banana, greens, almond butter, and almond milk
You’re going to want to eat within at least 30 minutes to 1 hour after you workout. Your body needs to replenish it’s glycogen stores, so a meal with both protein and complex carbs with a high glycemic index are preferable. Foods that reduce inflammation are a bonus – turmeric and ginger both have tremendous anti-inflammatory properties. Fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which also reduce inflammation, with the added bonus of being a great source of protein. Keep in mind that foods high in sugar and bad fats encourage inflammation, and should be avoided in general.
- Baked, grilled, or broiled fish with steamed vegetables, sweet potato and avocado.
- Curry (homemade) with chicken, veggies, and quinoa. Add some turmeric and ginger!
- Veggie and beef soup with garlic, onions, carrots, celery, squash, wild rice, kale, and herbs.
It’s a lot to take in, and planning meals around these rules may not be as easy at it sounds. Here are a few things to always keep in mind with your diet in general:
- Eat primarily whole foods; steer clear of processed and packaged foods. Prepare your own meals with fresh produce, fresh fruit, and an animal protein source, along with a good fat source. Packaged food can often boast lines about having this or that, but the truth is that 99% of the time, sugar, salt, preservatives, and other chemicals are added.
- Stay hydrated, 100% of the time. You should be drinking 2/3 of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you’re 150 lbs, 2/3 of 150 is 100. You should be drinking 100 ounces of water a day, as a general rule. Most people don’t drink enough water – it is something you should absolutely stay on top of.
- Know your body! Listen to your belly, and eat when you’re hungry. Figure out what makes you feel good after you eat. Be in tune.