It seems that there is a constant dialogue about pre and post workout meals, the timing, the size, the nutrients, etc. The confusion can be degrading to your confidence, which is never good for maintaining a long term wellness plan.
Rather than overwhelm yourself with what you “should” be eating, let’s simplify the controversy and stick to the rule that you should do what works for you and keeps you consistently active. Make lifestyle choices rather than trendy choices.
Adhere to a few basic principles:
Listen to your body, don’t allow your environment to control you.
To maximize your energy, a meal should be composed of a moderate amount of carbs, protein and fat.
If you haven’t had anything to eat in 3 hours or more, it is a good idea to eat something before exercising so that you can get the most out of your workout. You need some glucose (foods such as fruit, wheat, barley, rice and other complex carbohydrates are the most readily available source of energy that raise glucose levles in the blood) in your system to trigger your fat-burning mechanisms. If you run out of stored glucose, you start burning up muscle. Not good!
Muscles need protein for recovery and growth, and the best time to deliver protein appears to be right after exercise. Providing high-quality protein after exercise gives your muscles the fuel and the building blocks needed for both repair and for growth. (WebMD)
Unless you are pushing yourself really hard, for a really long time, like an Olympic athlete, you do not need the sugary sports drinks and bars. Stick to whole foods and water with lemon.
Here are some suggestions for easy workout snacks:
Protein shake (click here for the recipe)
Peanut Butter on Whole Wheat Toast or Peanut Butter on an apple
Almonds and dried fruit
Lara Bars, Promax Bars, or Detour Bars (avoid bars with added sugar)
Popcorn with hemp seeds
Hummus and carrots
Sunny Side Up Egg on root veggie hash or whole wheat toast
Egg salad or Tuna salad in 1/2 Whole Wheat Pita (add some roasted peppers and caramelized onions to jazz it up)
Low Fat or Whole Greek yogurt topped with a small amount of fresh fruit
Arielle is a proponent of happy and fullfilled living through great and healthy food. Get more recipes or become a client and make a change in your life with easy, health focused cooking classes and wellness coaching at www.relishlifela.com.
This blog first appeared on March 20th, 2013