Whether you’re a newbie or a seasonal hand, an effective fitness workout can be distressing, particularly if don’t know the rules of the game and where to start. The first and the basic premise for any fitness program is to set a clear SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic & Time Bound) Goal.
Proper pre and post workout nutritional information has a significant impact on the effectiveness and results of your workout plan. Absorbing the right nutrients into the body before and after exercise can greatly overall improve energy levels, aid in muscle recovery, and optimize overall performance of the workout.
Here, we shall discuss the best pre and post workout nutrition tips to maximize your workout and reach your fitness goals effectively and safely.
Skipping breakfast: Most of us hit the gym the first thing in the morning without preparing for it. Most beginners are in the habit of skipping breakfast and hit the gym directly.
The body has been in a state of rest for the entire night and therefore it is important to fuel the body with adequate nutrients so as to ensure that you have enough energy to power through your day’s routine.
Skipping breakfast can lead to low energy levels and decreased performance during the entire day as the workout consumes most of the body’s energy requirements.
Coffee before a workout: Though caffeine is an effective energy booster, consuming an overdose of caffeine before a workout can lead to higher levels of stress, increased heart rate and pulse, and dehydration as a large amount of water content is absorbed during the workout.
Working out after a heavy meal: Consuming a heavy meal right before starting out a workout can lead to discomfort and indigestion. It is always a better option to stick to a smaller, easily digestible meal or snack at least 30-60 minutes before taking up any heavy form of exercise.
No warmups before hitting the gym: Neglecting a muscle warm up before starting a workout can lead to muscle tear and injury, at the wrong places which can have a long term negative impact.
A few minutes to proper warm up stretching your muscles before you hit the gym has its own set of benefits and reduces the impact of injury to the body.
Not staying adequately hydrated: It is a good practice to carry a water bottle or energy drink in the gym kit to ensure that the body stays hydrated before, during, and after your workout. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, decreased performance and increased risk of injury.
Wearing improper clothing and shoes increases the risk of injury: Clothes that are too tight or shoes that don’t fit properly during the workout lead to discomfort and are prone to increase injury to the muscles. Therefore it is always advisable sure to wear appropriate clothing and shoes before starting a workout.
Competing with others during a workout: Being competitive is a part of human nature, though it can have an adverse impact on health during a workout.
If another person can do an x number of reps, it is not at all necessary that you also do so. This sense of competitiveness often leads to frustration and decreased motivation.
Instead, it is better to focus on your own progress and compete with yourself and set your own health goals.
Working out without a plan: This is the most basic mistake that all beginners make. Just because your neighbour or your friend has hit the gym for building six packs, it is not at all necessary to follow the herd.
It’s important for you to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve in your workout plan and how you plan to achieve it.
Our bodies derive the day’s energy requirements from the food that we eat during the day. If our daily routine consists of a regular workout at the gym, our bodies need to be fed with the right nutrition and should have the right level of energy to sustain the effects of the workout.
The main source of energy in the body is derived from the carbohydrates that we eat during our meals.
As exercise takes up a substantial amount of energy, carbs are a necessary nutrient before starting a workout along with protein. The protein acts as a filler so as to avoid hunger pangs in the body after a heavy workout.
Working out on an empty stomach is not an ideal option for building muscle and can negatively impact the body’s energy requirement and stamina levels during intense workouts.
Therefore it is recommended to eat a light, nutritious snack before intensive muscle training, especially if working out early in the morning and not able to have a full breakfast.
It is generally recommended that there is a gap of at least 2-3 between a heavy meal and a workout.
Timing your meals can enhance the effectiveness of your workout. This also influences the nature of foods you can consume before starting a workout.
The choice of the meal should be dependent upon the intensity of the workout and the timing of the workout. For e.g: If you are working out early in the morning, then it is better to have an early nutritious breakfast before hitting the gym.
In case you are working out in the evening, make sure to have a quick nutritious snack before starting the workout.
In order to adequately replenish the lost energy requirements in the body, it’s best to eat a light snack within 15 to 30 minutes after exercising, if possible, or a meal at least within two hours after training.
Eating the right food for energy is just as crucial as timing for eating. Foods with poor nutritional value are unable to provide the necessary fuel and nutrients for both your pre-workout and post-workout recovery.
Therefore it is necessary to select the foods with the right type of nutritional value during and after a workout.
When planning a full meal before exercising, make sure it includes all the necessary macro and micronutrients and is balanced in nature.
A typical pre workout meal can look like this:
Oatmeal with berries are good source of fibre, which helps lower cholesterol levels and promote digestion in the body.
A soluble fibre called beta-glucan, present in the oats has been shown to help lower blood sugar levels and improve heart health in the body.
Oats are also a good source of antioxidants and other essential nutrients, such as magnesium and potassium that are required by the body.
Add to it a scoop of protein powder and top it up with nuts to make a healthy, nutritious pre workout snack.
Whole wheat toast with avocado and a hard-boiled egg. Whole wheat is a good source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals that help promote the digestive process and lower the cholesterol levels in the body.
Avocado contains high level of healthy fats, fibre, and other vitamins and minerals like potassium, which helps lower blood pressure levels in the body.
The healthy fats in avocado can help to lower cholesterol levels and promote heart health. It also contains antioxidants, like lutein, which is important for maintaining eye health, and vitamin E.
Therefore whole wheat toast with a slice of avocado and a hardboiled egg make an ideal combo for a nutritious pre-workout snack that offers other health benefits also.
Each and every body is structured for different nutritional needs, and therefore it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional trainer and get personalized recommendations before starting on a workout plan.
When the body uses energy for the workout, it utilizes the levels of glycogen stored in the muscles which helps the muscles to become more flexible.
In order to fuel your body post workout energy requirements, it’s important to consume the right balance of carbohydrates and protein.
Carbs help to replenish the levels of glycogen in the muscles, while the protein aids in muscle repair and growth.
Eating a balanced nutritional meal within 30 minutes to an hour after a workout can help speed up recovery and improve performance in future workouts. It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking water before, during and after your workout.
Post-workout nutrition should focus on replenishing glycogen stores, repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue, and providing anti-inflammatory nutrients to the body.
Good options include a combination of protein and carbohydrates, such as a chicken breast and sweet potato, or a protein shake with a scoop of whey protein powder and a serving of fruit or vegetables.
Proper pre and post workout nutrition and preparation, as well as staying hydrated, stretching and getting enough rest, are all crucial for maximizing workout results. By consuming the right nutrients at the right time, you can improve energy levels, aid in muscle recovery, and optimize overall performance.
Remember, however, that everyone is different, and it is important to listen to your body and adjust your routine as needed. Don’t hesitate to make changes to your diet, workout plan, and recovery routine if you feel it will benefit you. To accomplish your fitness goals, you must be consistent and patient.