Have you ever heard the saying, “abs are made in the kitchen?” Exercising and training can only go so far if you aren’t filling your body with good-for-you foods. The next time you go to the gym, or train for a race, consider incorporating these high performance-promoting foods in your pre and post exercise meals.
Before gearing up for your workout, make sure to eat a hearty meal filled with complex carbohydrates. Try to avoid processed carbohydrates from sources such as white bread or cereals that make your energy levels crash an hour or so later. Instead, load up on complex carbs, which take longer to digest and provide a steady supply of energy during any form of exercise.
Oatmeal is a filling, customizable, warm bowl of complex carbohydrate goodness. Before leaving for the gym, prepare oats with boiling water, chopped banana, dollop of nut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon. This meal provides the perfect carbohydrate, protein, potassium punch your body needs to kill your workout. Too tired or lazy to make breakfast in the morning? Whip up this Overnight Oatmeal the night before.
2. Whole Wheat Toast
If oatmeal isn’t your thing, you can recreate it on a slice or two of whole wheat toast. Just slab on the nut butter, chop up some banana and sprinkle cinnamon. Add a drizzle of honey for some extra pizzaz. Or make it trendy and spread mashed avocado instead. The possibilities are endless.
Eggs are also a great source of protein and paired with toast can make a great pre-workout meal. Need motivation for early morning workouts? Think of the delicious breakfasts you can make.
Your body needs to recover with the proper nutrients to sustain muscle growth and resupply potassium lost through sweat. An ideal meal following exercise includes a balance of lean protein and carbohydrates.
4. Quinoa and Veggies
The gluten-free grain, quinoa, has just the right balance of complex carbohydrates and protein to refuel you after a long workout. Try adding some veggies or chicken for some extra flavor and a double dose of nutrients. A whole wheat tuna sandwich, a salad with grilled chicken, or salmon and vegetables are also great post-workout meals.
Bananas are easy to eat on-the-go after the gym if you don’t have time for a full meal. They are filled with the natural potassium and carbohydrates your body needs to recover. Add a little packet of nut butter or some almonds for a healthy serving of protein.
These are also easy post-workouts meals. Whip up your own combination of potassium, protein, and carbohydrates with ingredients such as bananas, greens, milk, nut butters and protein powder. Try one of these nutritious Super Smoothies for Smooth Skin for double the post-workout benefits.
Most importantly, remember to stay hydrated. You lose a lot of fluid while exercising, so make sure to gulp down lots of H2O before and after your workout. Are cramps cramping your routine? You may just be dehydrated.