Your workouts and meals are directly connected. What you eat and when you have it can impact the effectiveness of your exercise routine. Eating correctly based on your training is the best way to get the results you want to see. What we need to do is structure eating habits based on our sleep and training schedules.
Here are some tips to help you eat right to maximize the results of your workout sessions.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
According to the International Life Sciences Institute, or ILSI, you should eat your breakfast at least an hour before working out in the morning. Eating breakfast is a great way to help fuel your workout. The key is to get your carbs in before your exercise. Otherwise, you won’t be able to give it your all, so you won’t be able to get more out of your time. A light breakfast is better than nothing if you’re pressed for time.
The key to choosing what to eat for breakfast is to focus on carbs. The best breakfast options are yogurt, a banana, juice, milk, toast, or cereal. Also, it is okay to drink a cup of coffee before your workout. Just be warned that consuming too much coffee can give you an upset stomach during your exercise.
Eat Small Meals
Since portion size is often an oversight, it is essential to eat a smaller meal before exercising after lunch or dinner. If you eat under 500 calories, you can exercise after about one hour of rest. Any more than that, you’ll be feeling sluggish, and you won’t be able to do your exercises correctly. The key to eating for lunch and dinner is a good mixture of protein, veggies, and carbs.
Eat Some Snacks
Eating small snacks throughout the day is a great way to keep your system from crashing. These are great for energy boosts when you are dragging and keeping hunger from distracting you from your work. Pay attention to how you feel during the day. Do what’s suitable for your body. Just be sure you can always tell the difference between hunger and boredom.
The key for snacking is to look for something carb-heavy, so you get a boost. For example, you may choose juice, a protein drink, a peanut butter sandwich, granola bar, crackers, bagel, smoothie, yogurt, fresh fruit, or an energy bar. In sum, look for something that will perk you up and get you through to your next meal.
Eat After You Exercise
Within two hours after your workout session, you should eat a meal that has plenty of carbs and protein so your muscles can recover. This meal can be a small snack or a full-sized meal. Some of the best post-workout options include a turkey and vegetable sandwich, protein smoothie, milk and pretzels, peanut butter sandwich, and yogurt and fruit.
Drink Some Fluids
It’s also important to drink throughout the day. To prevent dehydration, you should drink fluids before, during, and after exercise. When it comes to liquids, you should drink at least two cups before your workout, half a cup for every 15-minute interval of activity, and two more cups afterward.
As far as what to drink, water is generally the best option. However, if you exercise more than one hour a day, you should swap to a sports drink. These will provide you with the electrolytes you sweat out during exercise and help you stay at your peak by giving you extra carbs.
In general, let this be a guide for your meal habit decisions. There will be times when you need more or less fuel to get you through a specific workout. Plus, you want to make dietary changes slowly, so you become accustomed to them over time. That will help you avoid an upset stomach during exercise. Just remember that everyone is different. Take note of how you feel about your progress. Let that help you decide what and when to eat. Then, when you find something great, stick with it.