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What to Eat Before and After a Workout

Austin Winder Jun 28, 2019
Working out helps your muscles grow and build endurance in your body. But the food we put into our bodies to fuel us can often be neglected.
Fitness and nutrition go hand-in-hand. Together, they create a balanced lifestyle that allows you to gain the best results from your workouts and experience the benefits of a well-rounded diet and exercise regime.
For beginners, nutrition can be a challenge, especially if your experience with it so far, has been heavily rooted in quick-fix diets.
For many, nutrition only relates to fitness in terms of calories. If you want to lose weight, simply monitor your caloric intake, cut it substantially and you'll eventually get the body you want. Not only is this untrue, but it's also dangerous, and can cause serious health problems.
The best thing you can do is learn the basics of nutrition and fitness. Whether you’re into strength training, cardio, yoga, or other exercise classes, you can learn to eat healthy by understanding what different types of foods do for your body, and how your diet affects you before and after a workout.

Understanding Your Metabolism

Your body has its own way of processing food and converting it into energy. This and all of its interconnected systems is your metabolism. Some people have faster metabolisms than others. They can eat whatever they want and not gain a pound.
Your metabolism speeds up when you exercise, and continues for hours after workout. This allows you to burn fat, lose weight and build muscle.

Eating the right food before and after exercising can boost your metabolism. This ensures that your body is both nourished before you exercise and replenish afterwards.

Pre-Workout Meals

Before exercising, you want to give your body the fuel for a good workout. This improves performance, increases endurance and prevents excess fatigue or injury. Ideally, you should eat two to three hours before the workout.
A balanced meal that's filled with healthy carbohydrates and protein is a good choice; consider having a leafy green salad with nuts and chicken breast.
If you are going to workout, a healthy snack that is easy for your body to digest and provides a large amount of energy is ideal. A nutrition bar, fruit or low-fat yogurt with reduced sugar are all good options. You could also snack on some dried fruit, rice cakes or toast.
The goal is to provide your body with an extra boost of energy that will give you power through your exercise routine. At the end of every workout session, you should feel triumphant, not exhausted.

Post-Workout Meals

You may not want to eat right after you workout, considering it will undo all the calories you worked so hard to burn. Don't fall into this trap. Your body has used a lot of energy and therefore, needs to be refreshed.
Healthy carbohydrates and proteins will help you recover quickly from a good workout, giving your body the extra boost it needs. Failing to eat well after a workout can actually cause your body to hold onto fat, so it's better to eat healthy than to not eat at all.
Healthy carbs from rice, nuts and whole wheat bread coupled with some protein from lean meats or fish are good bases for a post-workout dinner.

Avoid relying solely on supplement shakes. These can work on the days you're pressed for time but do not provide same amount of nutrients as a healthy, well-balanced meal.

Final Thoughts

Though it may be intimidating at first, learning how to properly nourish your body before and after workout is a valuable life skill. The healthier you eat, the better you feel and your exercise will be ten times more effective when the body gets what it needs to give best results.