|Top Foods For Fitness! (by NESHMIA)
Eat and drink to reap the fruits of your labour
Eating the right foods can have a huge impact on your stamina and performance and post-workout recovery. Choosing the right foods not only helps replenish energy and fluids lost during training, but it also aids in your recovery and helps your body to maximise the results of your workout – because when you're well-nourished you tend to exercise longer and burn more fat.
Here we give some suggestions regarding what to eat, when to eat it and also suggest some of the best power foods that will help boost you and your workout to new heights:
Exercising on an empty stomach is a definite no-no. Skipping meals before exercising can cause low blood-sugar levels, which can make you weak and light-headed. This means you won't have the strength to exercise and burn fat. If you exercise in the mornings, it's best to get up early enough to fit in a pre-workout snack first.
Charging up on something that's delicious and easy to digest like a fruit smoothie about 20 to 30 minutes before the session is good for your health. The foods you eat before your workout and the timing of your meals and snacks matter a lot. If you eat a large meal just before you exercise, you may experience nausea, feel sluggish or even end up with muscle cramps.
During digestion blood is pumped to your stomach and during exercise blood is pumped to your muscles – but the two processes should not happen at the same time. So, it's important to give your body enough time to digest the food and absorb its nutrients.
What You Should Eat
Alright, so we know that to get the most out of your workout, you should make sure you're properly fuelled first. Your pre-workout meal should contain a lean source of protein and a starchy and a fibrous carbohydrate. Carbs are an energy source, so opt for wholegrain bread, wholewheat pasta, or fruits and vegetables.
A general rule of thumb is one gram of carbohydrates per kilo of body weight if you're eating one hour before exercise, two grams per kilogram of body weight two hours before a workout and so on.
Before workout have low-fat yogurt – the probiotics in yogurt help calm a queasy stomach and boost your immune system – or have a cereal bar about an hour before your workout.
But if you choose to chow down on a big meal, make sure you have a gap of at least an hour and a half between eating and your exercise session. If your timing is off and you feel hungry when it is nearly time to exercise, pick a small snack such as a sports drink or some natural fruit juice. Also, it's advisable to avoid high-fibre foods like lentils and bran cereals as they can cause gas or cramping.
Post-exercise meals are just as important as what you eat before training, as they replenish your body's stores after a workout. What and when you should eat after exercise depends on the type of exercise you've undertaken and at what time of day.
After a cardio workout, you don't want food to be absorbed too quickly as that leads to carbs being stored as fat. So, wait for 30 minutes, but eat something within an hour.
Waiting a short while actually helps your body recover and start pumping blood into the stomach to aid digestion. But be careful not to wait more than an hour because by then your metabolism will have started to slow down and your body will go into starvation mode.
After a resistance training session, you need a meal that can be absorbed quickly so the body can absorb nutrients and repair muscles, so eat something within 30-45 minutes of your workout.
During resistance training your body uses stored sugar called glycogen, which can be replenished with simple carbohydrates, such as milk, dairy products, fruits and vegetables.
To replenish your stores of glycogen, have a big fruit smoothie. It's essential to rehydrate whether you have been doing aerobic or anaerobic exercise.
What You Should Eat
After working out, it's important to consume high quality sources of lean protein, whole foods and fibrous carbohydrates. A combination of fibre and protein helps you feel full for longer. You also need to load up on essential fats to boost your immune system, and proteins to help repair and build muscle tissue. A good post-workout meal is fish with brown rice and salad, or grilled chicken with millet and salad. If you workout in the evening, keep your dinners light.
Seven Foods To Turbocharge Your Workout!
Although they are high in fat, avocados contain essential (good!) fats that help improve the immune system and metabolism, reduce inflammation and maintain water balance. They are also a good source of potassium and vitamin E – a great post-workout fuel.
2. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds help boost immunity and rehydrate the body after a workout. They're also a great source of essential Omega-3 fatty acids. It's best to grind them up first to get the most benefits from them.
3. Skimmed Milk
Instead of reaching for an energy drink, opt for a glass of skimmed milk instead. It not only provides carbohydrates, protein and is low in calories, but it's also refreshing when ice-cold!
The simple sugars from the banana help the body replenish its depleted glycogen stores, plus the potassium helps replenish the electrolytes you lose when you sweat.
5. Grilled Chicken
Chicken is one of the leanest, healthiest sources of protein out there. Eating it before a workout helps release amino acids into your blood stream, which promotes the process of building proteins (protein synthesis). Chicken also ensures improved energy repair and post-workout recovery. Opt for chicken breasts and make sure they are skinless.
This fibre-rich vegetable contains glycogen-replenishing carbs, plus it's high in vitamin K, which is essential for bone health. Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin C, calcium, vitamin A, manganese, folic acid, magnesium, iron and antioxidants like quercetin that work to make oxygen more available to the lungs, thereby boosting endurance.
They are a great source of protein, which is essential for muscle and tissue repair, and also help boost energy levels. Plus, they offer other health benefits like improving eye health and decreasing your risk of heart disease. Have organic, free-range eggs for maximum nutrition.
· Pump up your workout with a spinach salad and grilled chicken breast strips two hours before your session.
· Refuel with a post-workout smoothie made from a banana, an avocado, a raw organic free-range egg, 2tbsp flax seeds, some skimmed milk and ice.