Foods For Workouts – Making the Most of Your Exercise
What you eat before and after a workout is extremely important to your performance. It’s important to choose foods that work well for you and your level of workout. How you feel before, during and after working out can play a large role in food choices.
Eating the proper foods will help maximize your workout performance. The intensity and duration of your workout will have a major affect in the foods you should or should not be consuming. Higher intensity workouts will demand more energy than a workout that consists of walking.
The Morning Workout
If mornings are your ideal time for working out, make sure you get up early enough in order to have breakfast beforehand. Rule of thumb, you should have breakfast 2 hours before any workout. Understand that if you do not eat before your exercise, you could become quite lightheaded, sluggish and sometimes even ill. Your blood sugar must be raised before staring any level of workout. If you do not have 2 hours to spare, then you will need to eat a lighter breakfast, allotting 1 hour before working out.
Whole grains, either cereals or breads, juices and bananas are great sources of energy and high in carbohydrates. Always watch the amount of food you consume before working out. Large meals demand at least 3 hours before exercising vs small meals that require a minimum of 2 hours. If you are not big on breakfast in the morning, I would strongly suggest you choose a snack or sports drink that will allow you to start your workout only one hour later.
Most people do well having snacks before and during workouts. Although snacks won’t give you any added energy, they will keep your sugar level up. How you react to snacking, before exercising or during, should be your guide as to whether this works well for you or not.
Some excellent sources for snacking consist of energy bars or drinks, fresh fruit, yogurt, whole grain bagels or peanut butter with crackers. There are other sources for high energy snacks to fit your particular palate. Snacks are very important if you work out for long durations as they will keep your energy up.
After Workout Foods
After any form of workout, you need to eat meals that are high in protein and carbohydrates. Your muscles need a recovery time, taking in high-end protein foods are essential. Some people do not feel hungry after exercising, having a completely opposite reaction of feeling full. If you fall into this category, grab a fruit juice or one of many sports drinks that are available. These drinks will replenish your carbohydrates and proteins as well.
Some great sources of foods after working are: Yogurt, Peanut Butter, Meat, Cheese, Nuts or Dried Fruits. If you desire a full meal, look for meals that contain these main food source: meats, starches, vegetables or salads.
Water: The Source of Life
With any exercise level, whether light or heavy, never leave water out of your diet. You should always drink plenty of water before, during and after a workout. Your body loses a great deal of fluid while working out and must be replaced in order to prevent dehydration.
Rule of Thumb
- Drinking 3 cups of water after a workout for each pound you have lost during exercising
- Drinking one cup of water 15 to 20 minutes during a workout
- Drinking 3 cups of water 2 hours before working out
Even though sports drinks work best for long duration workouts to replace carbs, water is still the best source for replacing lost fluids in your body.
Whether you are into light workouts, such as walks, or you are into intense workouts such as marathon races, there are food sources and drinks that should always be apart of your regiment.
What Works Best For You
Experience is probably the best resource for what will work for you in your workout plan. Some foods might be more than you can handle, while others are not giving you the level of energy you are looking for.
The best way to find your middle ground is through experimenting. If you become to sluggish or too hyper, weed out which foods are causing these extremes and replace them. Pay attention to foods you are consuming and which ones are beneficial and which ones are not. No two athletes are exactly alike and nor should their food choices.
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