When you are working out, it is important to eat the right types of food so that you can make the most out of it. The best way to do this is to have a balance between carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Now, keep in mind there are good and bad ways to eat all of these options.
Carbohydrates include sugars and starches that are broken down in the body. This forms glucose, which your muscles will use for energy. Carbohydrates are especially important to have in your meal when you do high-intensity workouts. These types of workouts often include running, the elliptical, or anything intense that keeps your heart rate elevated. Some good sources of carbohydrates include whole grain breads, be sure the whole grain bread have the word “whole grain” as the first ingredients listed, and watch out for “refined grains” which have extra sugars added and some of the nutrients taken out, fruit, vegetables, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice. Always keep in mind to look for complex carbohydrates, including whole grains, because this is what your body uses when working out. Simple carbohydrates are what you need to avoid.
Protein is also important to incorporate into your meals. When you eat protein, it helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrates. This way your body can save and use them for energy throughout the day. Some healthy options include fish, eggs, chicken, nuts, peanut butter, some cheese, and vegetarian options including beans, lentils, tofu, and hummas.
Yes, I did say fat. It is good to incorporate at least a little bit of fat into your daily meals. You just need to watch how much you are eating. Some good foods include low-fat dairy products, avocados, nuts, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed. This will provide the necessary fats that your body needs. Not all fats are equal. Stay away from trans fats and saturated fats, polysaturated and monosaturated fats are good, omega-3 fats found in fish, walnuts, and flax seed are good.
For any workout, it is always important to make sure you get enough water before, during, and after. You want to drink enough fluids so you do not get thirsty or more importantly, dehydrated. It is important to stay hydrated, especially so you don’t pass out in the middle of a workout.
When to Eat
If your workouts are early in the morning before you are very hungry, try having a piece of fruit or some yogurt. Make sure that you have energy stored that can be expelled during your workout.
If you are going to do a high-intensity workout, try to eat meals with a lot of complex carbohydrates about three to four hours before you work out. Also, make sure the foods you choose are easily digested before you work out.