Your body needs the proper fuel to help you make the most of your workout. Eating a light snack before your workout gives you the right dose of energy to help you power through your sweat session. Eating a snack within 30 minutes of finishing a workout will help you replace what was expended and give you the energy to get through the rest of your day. However, you don’t want to grab just any old thing. Here are some suggestions for the before and after snacks that can help boost your performance and keep your energy high throughout your whole day.
Before a workout:
Even though people who are going to be taking on a huge exercise challenge, such as a marathon or amateur sports match, talk of carb-loading before the event, that doesn’t mean you should do the same. However, carbohydrates are one of the most important things your body needs in order to get a great workout. Why? Because simple carbs give you a quick burst of energy to help you get going, while complex carbs provide the steady fuel to keep you going after that initial burst fades. The best items to choose include whole wheat toast, fruit (especially bananas), oatmeal, a shake or smoothie with fruit or oatmeal added, or a whole wheat bagel.
Other nutrients your body will find useful about 45 minutes to an hour before a workout are protein and healthy fats. Your protein dose can come from a handful of nuts or nut butter, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese or fish such as tuna. Healthy fats can come from vegetables cooked in a bit of oil, or from peanut or nut butter.
After a workout:
Since the right time to eat after working out would likely come at lunch or dinner time, there are many options for you to choose as a post-workout meal that are both healthy and beneficial. Your body is working on recovering from your exercise routine, so giving it the tools it needs to do this is better for you, especially in the long run. You’ll have better recovery from your workouts and more stamina to get through the rest of your day.
Great post workout snacks include chicken and veggies, a can’t-go-wrong combo that provides necessary protein for muscle repair, and heart-healthy, antioxidant rich vegetables; fish such as salmon; and, surprisingly, a much loved childhood treat: chocolate milk. Why choose a treat like chocolate milk over water or a sports drink? It has everything your body needs all in one glass. The combo of carbs, protein, fluid, and a little sugar helps your body recover faster and get that boost of energy it needs.