In an ideal world we would all engage in physical activity for 30 minutes a day, eat a healthy balanced diet and have the body of a goddess but life gets in the way right? Here is a brief introduction into what you should be eating to get the best out of your workouts.
Depending on the time of day of your workout, try and ensure you are adequately hydrated. This may be a bit tricky if you are going to the gym before work but make sure you drink plenty throughout your workout. Generally, if your workout is up to an hour long, water is enough to sustain the body throughout. Anything over an hour then you will need to start replacing the electrolytes in your body which is where sports drinks come in handy. Remember, we are meant to drink two litres of water a day, more if we are exerting ourselves. The body is great at telling us if we need more water, if in doubt just look at your pee…
Before your workout
When it comes to getting the body ready for a workout, carbs are the way forward. You want to get a mix of both simple and complex carbs into your body to provide a steady release of energy while you workout. If you plan on being in the gym for over 60 minutes then you want to eat 30 minutes before a workout. Ideally, aim for a 3:1, carb: protein ratio such as honey on toast or peanut butter on a banana. A banana is a great choice for a pre workout snack as they raise potassium levels which drop when we begin to sweat.
During your workout
Again, anything up to an hour long workout and you should not need to consume anything whilst workout out. If you are running for a long distance or for large amounts of time, over 60 minutes, then this is where sweets, yes sweets, come in handy. When you get to the 60 minute mark, your body is going to start needing some more energy and so snacks like trail mix or jelly babies are a great source of instant energy. They are also calorie dense and so you do not need to take too many for the desired effect.
After your workout
The window of opportunity is within 45 minutes of finishing your workout. Your body needs nutrients to repair the muscle tissue and replenish glycogen stored and this is where protein shakes, or bars, come in handy (chocolate milkshakes also do the trick).
Try to avoid consuming meat, dairy or fibre too close to training sessions unless you want to be running to the loo mid run…
BSc (hons) Sports Science, Level 3 Certificate in Advanced Personal Training, Boxercise Registered Instructor, Certificate in Pre and Post Natal Exercise