What to eat before, during and after training?

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When it comes to post-workout nutrition, most of us know that they need to eat a protein-rich meal after a workout, but have you paid enough attention to what you need to eat before a workout? The timing, type and amount of food you eat before a workout can have a big impact on your performance and how you feel. Nasrien tells us how to get the most of your workout with a good nutrition.

Exercise nutrition is crucial for the body to be prepared for a hard workout. Would you start a road trip without fuel or a full battery in your car? You also don’t want to start a workout without fuel.

Let your food be your medicine

Before exercising

Studies show that you’ll perform better if you eat something first, instead of training on your sober stomach. On the other hand, it’s also not pleasant to exercise while your digestive system is in full working order. So it’s best to eat something three to four hours before you start exercising. 

Because fats are only digested after six to nine hours, it is best to eat them even more beforehand.

Muscles that make an effort mainly need carbohydrates. For a sufficiently large and sustainable intake, it is best to choose products rich in complex carbohydrates, starchy products and cereal products: pasta, rice, bread… 

If you have less than two hours before exercising, choose fruit, a mixture of nuts and dried fruit, or fruit juices that contain more simple carbohydrates (‘sugars’), and are therefore absorbed faster by the body. 

In general, before you exercise, it is wise to choose familiar foods, which you know your body can tolerate well.

During the exercise

During exertion you should try to replace the fluid you lose through sweating. And you need enough carbohydrates to maintain the glucose level in your blood (the main source of energy for the muscles). 

So choose water, sugary drinks and sweet foods such as bananas, dried fruit (even higher concentration of sugars) or high-sugar bars. 

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After the effort

After the effort you need enough energy and carbohydrates to replenish your reserves, and to ensure a quick recovery of your muscles. 

The first half hour after prolonged exercise is sometimes called the ‘metabolic window’. During this period, the body wants to replenish its reserves and renew itself as quickly as possible. Here again, choose products with sugar.

Drink enough after exercise, but no soft drinks. During exercise your body produces lactic acid. Your body would like to get rid of that after exercise. Soft drinks do not help, because they bring even more acid into your body. Water is the best choice, and preferably sparkling mineral water, which is rich in bicarbonate. That provides a bit of sodium to compensate for the sodium lost through sweating.

A healthy exercise starts with a healthy nutrition. Try to change your eating habit. Not only before, during and after training, but try to maintain a good diet every day of the week. But don’t forget to cheat ones a week. This way, a healthy lifestyle is easy to maintain. 

This article has been written by @NASRIEN CNOPS

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