When it comes to maintaining good health, exercise plays a crucial role but no exercise program will be successful without eating right. When you eat before exercise it can give you the energy you need for your workout. When you eat after exercise it can help aid in recovery. Learning what and when to eat before exercise and what and when to eat afterexercise can be the difference between success and failure.
Eat Before Exercise
Whether you are doing cardio or weight training, you need the fuel for your workout. Eating before exercise can give you just that. A mix of carbohydrates and protein can be taken in at this time. The percentage of how much of each you should take in can be decided by the type of exercise and the intensity you are going to be doing.
The best time to eat before exercise is about 90-120 minutes before you start. Experiment with the amount 100-300 calories depending on intensity and duration.
Eat After Exercise
Another important part of a successful exercise routine is what you eat after exercise. This meal is just as important as what you eat before exercise. It doesn’t matter if it is a cardio session or weight training, as energy is depleted in the form of glycogen. Glycogen is the primary source of fuel for the central nervous system and the brain, so if it is not replaced, the body will start to break down muscle tissue and turn it into amino acids which will then be converted into fuel for the central nervous system and brain.
Another important reason to eat after exercise is the micro tears that are created from resistance training in our muscles. When the workout is completed the muscles that were used during weight training will go into a repair phase. This is where protein will stop the muscle from breaking down and converting to fuel to replace glycogen and start the repair processes of the micro tears.
When a cardio session is completed, carbohydrates is what you should mainly eat after exercise. High fiber foods such as whole wheat pasta, rice, oatmeal, and most fruits are all good sources. You carbohydrate intake should be around 30-50 grams and as early as 5-10 minutes after your session end is when you should eat after exercise.
After completing a resistance training session is is important to take in carbohydrates and protein. Some great combinations of fish or chicken with potatoes, egg whites with some fruit, or a protein shake with some fruit are some basic combinations of carbohydrates and proteins you can eat after exercise. You should wait 30 minutes after resistance training to eat so you do not take blood away from your muscle too soon. The blood in your muscles help removes metabolic waste products from them.
After resistance training it is important not to take in high fiber food as it slows digestion and the goal here is to get protein to the muscles fast to start the repair process.
A successful exercise routine must have proper nutrition along with it. Knowing when and what to eat before exercise and when and what to eat after exercise are important steps that can be taken to ensure you get the results you want.