Watching what you eat is an important part of any exercise routine. Organic ingredients are a must-have in any fitness enthusiast’s diet, but they also need to be prepared right. Frying will always be out of the question. Instead, try roasting, grilling or broiling for the best results. And when in doubt, raw food is also an option.
There are also plenty of healthy ways to approach the actual process nowadays that sustain the passion for clean eating even more. The tools we use on a daily basis to prepare our food for consumption influence the quality of the actual dish and how beneficial it is for our well-being. Fortunately, we have options.
The newest preferred method is that of cooking meals on a magnetic hob, known as an induction stove. This isn’t only eco-friendly, but it also limits the type of cookware that can be used to cast iron and other magnetic surfaces. Thus, toxic aluminum and copper are immediately ruled out. If you want to know what and how to use, read more about induction cookware to find out.
While it’s important to pay attention to everything you consume during a day and tailor it to your objectives, the crucial moments come before and after the workout. Your success closely depends on what you choose to eat during these two times, which is why it’s important to know exactly what’s good for you.
According to Healthline, the right pre-workout meal will fuel your body through the workout, as well as minimize muscle damage and promote the subsequent recovery process. The essential macronutrients for this are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The necessary ratio of each will naturally depend on the type of exercise you engage in.
Nevertheless, they all serve specific purposes. For example, carbs are processed into glucose, which is then used by your body as fuel during the session. Furthermore, they increase the glycogen stores in muscles, which delays fatigue and maintains a strong energy output due to impeded depletion.
For this reason, many professional athletes adopt a diet known as ‘carb-loading’, in which they consume foods that are high in carbohydrates the day before an important competition or even. Sometimes, they keep it up for the entire prior week if they wish to supply their muscles with glycogen to the maximum.
Protein is another essential element to include in a pre-workout meal because it stimulates muscle growth and recovery. And finally, fat is an indispensable secondary fuel source for when your muscles glycogen stores become depleted after a prolonged bout of physical activity. The ideal meal should thus incorporate these in varying degrees.
Contrary to popular belief, a pre-workout meal or snack isn’t dull or dry in any way. In fact, there are plenty of flavorful and innovative options. A few ingredient ideas include Greek yogurt, berries, nut butters and fruit smoothies. Out of all of them, Greek yogurt is perhaps the best alternative because it is the most nutritious.
Mix one cup of Greek yogurt with your favorite berries and some granola for a carb and protein-packed snack. As for the perfect smoothie, including bananas, blueberries and avocados with some peanut butter or almond milk is the suitable way to prepare for a high-intensity training session.
After a hefty bout of physical activity, your body will be left depleted of energy, nutrients, and hydration. Furthermore, slight muscle damage will have been induced. Luckily, all these aspects can be easily resolved with the right post-workout meal. Although the concept is similar to the one discussed above, there are some notable variations involved.
First and foremost, protein is the centerfold of a successful post-workout meal, rather than carbs. Carbs are also important, but they no longer hold center stage. A 2009 study has demonstrated that consuming plenty of protein after a round of training provides the body with amino acids to promote recovery, as well as the building blocks for new muscle tissue.
The recommended amount is of 0.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. Therefore, a person weighing 70 kilos should ideally intake 35 grams of protein with their post-workout meal. Carbs are also an important part of this because they replenish your energy reserves.
They should be consumed in a 3:1 ratio of the protein, meaning that 40 grams of the latter warrant 120 grams of the former. This restores glycogen levels in the muscles and ensures that recovery takes place swiftly and effectively.
The perfect post-workout meal comes in many shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. For those with a sweet tooth, a dish of protein-packed pancakes will hit the spot straight away. Make sure to go heavy on the eggs when making the batter, and top them off with honey or maple syrup, blueberries, and banana slices.
If you’re craving a bit more meat but don’t have time to put together a full meal, mix the contents of a can of yellowfin tuna with a few crushed whole grain crackers. Add mustard, pepper and any other spice of your choice for a subtle hint of seasoning and spread on toast.
Carbs and protein are the pillars of pre and post-workout nutrition. While the former is a staple in the dishes you consume before, the latter aids better with recovery following an exercise session. Nevertheless, they are always consumed together in varying quantities, depending on the activity of choice, as well as the purpose.
Fats are another indispensable fuel source for the body alongside carbs, albeit consumed in moderation after sessions. Finally, keep in mind that hydration is vital before, during and after your training. It’s important to not skip out on meals, but even more so to drink plenty of water.
Amanda is a writer and passionate cooking enthusiast. She has previously written for Bon Vita Style, Saute Magazine, Simple Nourished Living and many other nutritional blogs.
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