How many of you wake up in the morning and immediately jump out of bed, put on your running shoes, and go out for an intense run without eating anything? Probably not many of you. Most everyone knows that it is very important to eat before and after your workout so that you can fuel and refuel your tank. But do you know what the best things for you to be eating before and after your workout are?
If you don’t eat before your workout you won’t have any nutrients available throughout your workout to give you the much needed energy for a grueling workout. As a result you will become sluggish and you won’t be able to work out with a high enough intensity to get the results you want. If you don’t have nutrients available for your body to take from as you work out, your body will pull other nutrients from places that you don’t want it taking from. Like protein from your muscles.
So before you begin your workout it is important that you fuel your body with protein and simple carbohydrates. It is recommended that you consume a ratio of 4 carbohydrates to every 1 serving of protein. The carbohydrates will provide you with instant energy for your workout and the protein will help your muscles recover faster after the workout.
You need to remember, however, that you don’t want to overload on food before your workout because no one wants to (or should) workout when you are completely stuffed. Eating too much before your workout can lead to gastric distress. So keep the meal simple. We recommend that you make a smoothie with fruit and put in some meal replacement shake mix or protein powder in with it. Our favorite powder to use is the IdealShape meal replacement shake powder. IdealShape is the perfect thing to have right before your workout because it is packed with nutrients and gives you the energy you need to have a successful workout. Try and stay away from foods that commonly cause gastric discomfort like: dairy products, foods with high fiber content or high-fructose foods (candy, cookies, etc).
After you work out the cells in your body need nutrients to help your body recover from the strenuous workout. The sooner you can get nutrients into your body after your workout, the quicker your body can absorb them and recover from the work out. After you are done exercising you don’t need to worry so much about keeping the meal simple and light. Getting protein after a workout is very important. An omelet will give you a lot of nutrients and protein to replenish what was lost while you were busy sweating. You can also have another protein shake or meal replacement shake.
Eating something nutritious before and after your workout will help you to perform better during your workout and recover quickly afterwards. You will see your performance improve and your energy stay high as you continue to eat what you should before and after your workout.
If you are not a part of our 12 week Shape Up Challenge, this is the nutrition article for Week 4 of the Shape Up Challenge. Click here to join.