Far too frequently, the word diet refers to cutting calories in order to shed excess weight. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to lose a host of unwanted pounds, a good diet is more than that. A proper diet is one where the selections a person eats serve the purpose of improving health in some way. The right diet can also serve a purpose. In particular, the food selected as part of a diet can deliver the necessary fuel required for the workout to be effective.
The right foods should not just be eaten prior to a workout. It is also helpful to eat certain selections after a workout since they can deliver much desirable nutrients capable of contributing to recovery. Your body loses a lot of valuable minerals during a workout. Good recovery food can help restore them. The foods might also be used to replenish carbohydrates if they are so needed.
Why Fuel is Important
There are a few reasons why fuel is important prior to a workout session. One major reason is because is intensity. For a workout to be effective, it should be one that requires a lot of effort and a little bit of sweat. Putting such effort into a workout is next to impossible when sluggish and tired. Having the right fuel prior to a workout helps supports the energy required for a high intensity session.
Eating Before a Workout
The things to eat prior to a workout are nothing really out of the ordinary. You want to eat carbohydrates that are light and clean. In other words, you want to get some carbs (energy) from a bowl of oatmeal or whole grain cereal or fruit as opposed to muffins or danishes. A helping of protein can be very helpful as well. Eating a poached egg white would be an excellent means of getting some much needed protein. An easier way to do so is to make a protein shake. A good protein shake should have more than enough good nutrients in to help deliver what would be most beneficial prior to a workout. Now, it is true some like to exercise on an empty stomach early in the morning. The rationale here is they burn more calories because there is no food in the stomach. To a degree, this may be true but there is a problem that might arise later on in the day. Namely, when you exercise on an empty stomach and deplete your carbs and calories, you set the stage for being tired and worn out later in the day. So, working out on an empty stomach might not be a great idea. In addition to knowing what to eat, it is necessary to know what not to eat prior to a workout. Among the worst things you could ever eat would be a huge meal with a massive amount of fat in it. Such a meal would weigh you down and bloat you in the gym or, for that matter, any other environment you wish to perform a workout. Meals prior to exercise sessions should always be light and low in fat. Let this be a guiding rule.
After Workout Eating
Eating after a workout should serve the purpose of restoring a lot of glycogen to your muscle reserves. When you workout hard, you burn up a lot of sugar. While it is most definitely true you want to burn excess sugars. Sugar that is not burned for fuel ends up becoming fat. That said, you do need glycogen for energy and muscular endurance. So, replenishing some of it is well advised. The way to do this is by eating or drinking good carbohydrates capable of giving the body what it would truly benefit from. Muscle must also repair itself in the aftermath of a workout. This is how muscle tissue grows. In order to support such a result, it is necessary for the body to receive a solid amount of lean protein. Another protein shape would help. (Adding a fruit selection banana to the shake could boost the carbs in it) Eating a chicken breast or having more eggs would be another way to get a little extra protein in a diet. Carbs and protein are the best mix for the after workout session. Just be sure that they come from the right sources. You do not want your carbs and protein to come with processed sugars, saturated fat, or other unhealthy selections.