What to Eat Before and After Exercise

To get the best results from your workout, it’s important that you’re eating the right things before and after you exercise. Proper nutrition is essential to improving your endurance and preventing injury, keeping your body in the best condition to reach peak performance levels. Make the most out of your workouts and see results faster.
Before exercise Make sure you’ve eaten a nutritious meal about an hour before you exercise to keep you going strong throughout your workout. Eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates, like whole-grain pasta, rice and bread, or fruits and vegetables. Complex carbs are easy to digest, and will give you plenty of energy to sustain you throughout your exercise, allowing yourself to really push your body to get the optimum results. Some examples are:
  •  a sml bowl of cereal, oatmeal with milk and a banana,
  • 1 bagel with cottage cheese
  •  wholegrain crackers with cheese and tomato.
Avoid simple sugars like lollies for at least an hour before you exercise, as they will cause your blood sugar to drop during your workout. It’s important to make sure you don’t suffer low blood sugar levels when you exercise, as this can cause jitters and dizziness, which stops you from training as long and hard as you normally could.
It’s also important to make sure you are well hydrated before you work out. Drink 500-600 ml of water in the one or two hours before exercising. This will help you to reach your optimal physical performance, as well as providing resistance to injury and maintenance of normal body temperature.
After exercise
After your workout you should have a small snack that is rich in complex carbs, so you can restore your muscle-glycogen levels. An hour later, you should have a nutritious, protein-rich meal .
If you exercise at night, high GI  carbohydrate-rich foods like rice, a bagel or potato are ideal as they are quickly digested and can also help promote sleep. For good post-exercise dinners, try:
  • Rice -(try quick cooking rice pouches – pre-cooked rice that needs just 90      seconds in the microwave to heat) with simple stir-fried chicken breast and some vegies, or
  • Microwave  a potato in it’s jacket and add some tuna, corn and chopped red capsicum, or
  • A bowl of rice bubbles with milk and a few berries will even do the trick!
If you work out during the day, for example in your lunch break, the same carb/protein principles apply, but at this time of day,  try low GI, higher fibre carbohydrate-rich foods to give you longer lasting energy throughout the afternoon, like:
  • Wholegrain sandwich or wrap with tuna, chicken or egg plus salad (dark green leaves like rocket or cos lettuce with beetroot and grated carrot) plus fruit –
    good choices include oranges, mango, apples, berries
  • Sushi rolls plus a side salad
  • Low GI rice or pasta salad (avoid creamy sauces) containing chicken, legumes, fish and roasted vegetables
You will also need to rehydrate your body, so make sure you drink some more water.Following these guidelines can help you to get the most out of your workout. You’ll find that your energy levels will improve, and you’ll be more able to reach peak performance.Be kind to your body- listen to what it needs, and you’ll see better results.
Maree xx