Whether you’re a ‘weekend warrior trying to stay fit or an athlete training for a marathon, what you eat can affect how you perform. Eating right can give you the edge and to help energize your workout.
Healthy Foods to eat before exercising for Energy and Strength
Fueling exercise requires quality carbohydrates, lean protein, heart-healthy fats, and fluids. Your muscles rely on carbohydrate foods like whole wheat breads, cereals, fruits, and vegetables for a quick energy source. Protein is needed to build and maintain muscles and for healthy blood cells. Blood cells deliver nutrients and oxygen to working muscles.
Foods provide nourishment to your body, and fluids provide the necessary water to it. Without these crucial fuels and fluids, your body will have a hard time performing at its best.
The ideal pre-exercise meal should have the following:
1. Low in Fat
2. High in complex carbohydrates and protein
3. Moderate in Low fiber
4. Contains Fluids
Drink plenty of liquids during Exercise
Not only does being well hydrated improve your performance, it can save your life. Water acts as your body’s cooling system; without sufficient water during exercise your body temperature can reach dangerously high levels. Stay hydrated throughout the day and you may sip water during your exercise routine as well.
Is it better to stay hydrated with sports drinks or plain water?
Recreational athletes can drink water for hydration. But if you’re exercising for more than 60 minutes in hot, humid conditions, drinks like Coconut Water, Tang and Sports drinks are recommended. Sports drinks provide not only fluid, but carbohydrate and sodium. Sports drinks are also a good choice if you play team sports like football, especially when the temperature and humidity are high.
Is it bad to exercise on an empty stomach, especially in the morning?
It really depends on the type of exercise — a brisk walk or light jog on an empty stomach is fine; just drink a glass of water before heading out the door. For more intense exercise, eat some easy-to-digest carbohydrates (a slice of whole wheat toast, a banana,) to help provide fuel for your workout. After sleeping, the overnight fast can deplete your liver stores of carbohydrate, so intake of a healthy complex carbohydrate before longer exercise is recommended.
Why do you need to eat protein after exercising?
Yes you do! Muscles need protein for recovery and growth, and the best time to deliver protein appears to be right after exercise. Providing high-quality protein after exercise gives your muscles the fuel and the building blocks needed for both repair and for growth.
A hard-boiled egg or Soya Milk is ideal to have after a tough exercise routine.
Exercising in the morning is better or in the Evening?
It is certainly better to exercise in the morning, as your metabolism kicks in, resulting in your body burning intake of foods faster than if the metabolism were to work at a regular pace. However, some prefer to exercise later in the day, when muscles are warmed up, and it helps revive them for the evening. The only caution is not to exercise close to bedtime, as the increase in body temperature and metabolism may interfere with sleep.
Can you lose weight without having to exercise?
Yes, you can, but the best strategy is a combination of cutting fatty foods with calories, and exercising. Exercise has other benefits that can help with weight loss. It improves mood and self-esteem, as well as reduces risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Healthy Diet to lose Fat
If your goal is to lose weight and target fat, you need to follow the same kind of healthy diet as above, but be sure you get enough calories to fuel your physical activity. Cut back on refined, sugar-rich foods and beverages and high-fat and fried foods, and scale back your portions to gradually lose body fat. A combination of exercise and a calorie-controlled diet will be the most effective way to promote fat loss.