Last week I got asked what to eat before and after a workout so I thought I would write about it to give you some ideas and guidelines.
The first thing that I want to say is that so many people think that because they work out they can eat whatever they want or justify having something cause they burned "x" amount of calories. This next sentence is going to suck but its the truth. None of us, and this includes me, are burning so many calories during our workouts that it justifies extra calories. It just doesn't work like that. We eat in a certain way to be healthy, lose or gain weight, maintain muscle mass. We workout to keep our muscles strong, keep our hearts strong, maintain flexibility, and our minds sharp. The food we put in our body and how much we put in our body can have a profound effect on our energy levels and, really, just how we feel.
Having said that, we need to look at our calorie needs. Every single one of us needs different calorie or energy needs. Calories is just another name for energy and for most of us having the energy to do our workouts requires us to have some sort of food, energy, calories around our workouts to make us perform our best. Plus, some of us don't eat breakfast before we work out. We are all different. Here are some guidelines for you to help you get the most out of your workout by fueling your body with what it needs.
I am going to focus on the morning cause that is when we do our workouts. If you are going to eat a full breakfast before our workout, please give yourself at least an hour after you finished your meal to before your workout. your body is hard trying to digest your food, let it do its job. Plus you are less likely to get an upset stomach. If you do run out of time and need something quick, a banana will do the trick. Those fast carbs will get you going. Some other great options to eat before a workout are, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but please use lower sugar jelly, natural peanut butter and whole grain bread. The ingredients matter. A fruit and yogurt smoothie is another great option, just be careful how much fruit you use, some of these smoothies could have upwards of 700 calories so be mindful. You can also sneak in some protein powder and some leafy greens like spinach. There are many recipes on the internet. Looking for something quick and easy, trail mix works well also, just be careful of serving size. Trail mix is one of those foods that is easy to over eat.
These are some suggestions for after working out if you feel you need something. Eggs and toast is a great option, just watch the what you cook the eggs in. Lowfat chocolate milk is awesome. It has the perfect mix of carbs, fat and protein, again watch the portion size. Whole grain turkey wrap, plain greek yogurt and fruit, rice cakes and peanut butter are all great options.
The biggest thing I want you all to take away from this is all calories count, you dont need extra calories and the quality of your choices count. Try and eat as much whole foods as you can and try and stay away from the sugar. The foods we eat can impact our workouts but it also impacts our daily lives. We eat yucky, we feel yucky.