Much like cars, bodies come in many shapes and sizes and they require fuel to function.
In order to get the most out of your workout you need to know what to eat before you exercise and what to eat after – otherwise you could be going against all those weights you just lifted and miles you just ran.
Ellen MacIntosh, a registered dietitian with UNB Student Health, has compiled a brief information sheet for eating healthy before and after exercise, complete with recommended foods.
MacIntosh’s plan doesn’t call for any excessive preparation or cooking time for the snacks; she keeps to a simple program taken from Canada’s Food Guide.
“Keep a training log or diary and note when and what you ate, and how you felt during training,” she said. “This process will allow you to fine-tune your meal or snack.”
Choosing a balanced and nutrient-packed diet from the four food groups of the guide is the best way to ensure you are optimizing your daily diet.
Some snack foods advised are cereal with low fat milk and an apple or banana, a whole grain muffin with water and some yogurt, or half a bagel with peanut butter and a glass of milk.
According to Men’s Fitness, these foods are packed with complex carbs for long lasting and constant energy for your muscles; the fruit and yogurt also contain simple carbs, which give an added kick of energy.
Whole-grain breads are also a great additive, allowing the fiber to give your muscles constant fuel, as well as a good source of protein, such as chicken, granola bars etc.
MacIntosh also added you should be consuming around 3.7 liters of water constantly throughout your day. This is especially true – and you may even need more – for intense exercise.
During your high-intensity workouts, you should be stopping roughly every 10-15 minutes for water, and if you continue for extended periods of time, sports drink replacements are a good idea to regain things like potassium and sodium, which you have sweated out.
Upon completing the exercise, continue with hydration until thirst is quenched.
MacIntosh’s advice calls for a high-protein snack to be consumed within 30 minutes.
These high protein snacks could be a high-protein granola bar, milk, a peanut butter sandwich with a fruit, or a lean turkey and cheese sandwich.
The protein helps to repair the torn muscle fibers and refuel your body. She also recommends that these snacks be followed relatively closely by a regular, healthy, meal.
If budgeted properly, these ideas can be easily bought and are relatively in expensive.
For those who use the meal halls here on campus, it is more challenging to get what your body needs, but most of the foods can be found to a certain extent. With a little creativity and some hard work, the dining halls have what you need – maybe not to maximum healthy standards, but it’s better than nothing.