Skipping breakfast is a great way to lose weight, especially since most of the calories in food consumed in the morning are burned off during physical activity. But, despite these good intentions, many runners find themselves starving after a hard workout. Skipping breakfast can lead to overeating, which, in turn, can lead to weight gain. Instead, runners can benefit from a meal that includes carbs and protein pre-workout while refueling with a sports drink, protein bar, and baked goods.
When you exercise, you are essentially breaking down muscle fibers, and to rebuild those fibers, your body needs 24 hours to replenish them. But if you are trying to lose weight, restricting calories can prevent you from building new muscle. So, what should you eat before and after a workout to burn more calories?
Food and Drinks that You Should Eat and Drink Before Workout
Smoothies are one of the best meals you can have before or after a workout. They save a lot of time in the kitchen and are healthy, filling, and packed with vitamins. A fruit-and-yogurt smoothie is a great example of the power of smoothies and is packed with healthy carbs, protein, and healthy fats to help keep you energized and refueled after a tough workout.
After an intense workout, when you are not hitting the gym or doing your usual workout class, snacks are a great form of fuel and can be a great option. One of the best choices is trail mix, especially if your workout is particularly intense. Due to the variety of ingredients, there is sure to be something in the trail mix that works for you. Other good snacks to snack on are nuts, dried cranberries, dried cherries, and sunflower seeds.
Low-fat latte and an apple
Apples and coffee may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to the perfect pre-and post-workout meal, but dieters swear by these two foods for good reason. A handful of apples and a cup of low-fat milk can satisfy the energy and hunger needs of a working athlete, and they have the added benefits of being high in antioxidants. The antioxidants in apples have been linked to better cardiovascular health and improved immunity, and milk is packed with protein and calcium. According to a 2010 review in the Journal of Nutrition, soluble fiber found in apples can lower the glycemic index of foods, which can be especially helpful in preventing blood sugar spikes after exercise. So, next time you are at the gym, try an apple and low-fat latte rather than reaching for the sports drink—it may just be more beneficial for your workouts and overall health.
Banana is one of the best foods to eat before a workout. As an antioxidant, the banana is an energy-boosting powerhouse. It is high in potassium, which can help relax blood vessels and arteries and reduce blood pressure. This can help reduce the chances of heart trouble (especially if you are prone to it). It is also a good source of B vitamins, which can keep your body in top shape.
Food and Drinks that You Should Eat and Drink After Workout
Egg and whole-wheat toast
Egg and whole-wheat toast will provide your body with lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Eating these three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) within 30 minutes of a workout will ensure that your body has enough energy to get you through the rest of the workout.
Dairy products are a big no-no for many people trying to lose weight—but drinking milk after a workout may boost recovery. Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, found that women who drank a glass of chocolate milk 30 minutes after a 45-minute, high-intensity workout lost 17 percent more muscle than women who drank water.
Whole-grain turkey wrap
What you eat after a workout is important for recovery, so you want to make sure you are getting something energy-packed. A whole-wheat turkey wrap is a perfect option, and you might find it even easier to make than you think. This delicious meal is filling yet will not make you feel guilty for eating it.
When it comes to where an individual should focus their energy and exercise efforts, many experts agree that it is just as important to focus on eating right and recovering following a workout as it is on exercise. Most exercise-related health benefits come from a combination of exercise, diet, and sleep, three areas that can be overlooked with our busy lifestyles.