Fueling for Your Fitness Goals
Whether you exercise in the morning, mid-day or in the evening, fueling properly is key to getting the most out of your workout, and seeing the results you want!
Pre-workout: Carbs are your body’s preferred fuel for exercise. Make sure your last meal before hitting the gym or heading out for a run contains complex carbs, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, sweet potatoes, or oatmeal. If it’s been more than a few hours since you’ve eaten (say you’re working out first thing in the morning, at your lunch hour, or in the evening after work) a carb-rich, pre-workout snack is key!
When you’re short on time, stick to quick-digesting carbs and limit fiber, fat and protein to avoid GI distress. A banana, a grain-based granola bar, or dried fruit like raisins will provide the energy you need to power through your workout, and prevent your body from breaking down muscle.
Post-workout: Whether you’re doing cardio or lifting weights, exercise actually creates micro-tears in your muscles. The nutrition you provide your body after a workout starts the recovery process and allows your muscles to rebuild themselves stronger. That’s why it’s so important to re-fuel after exercise.
Try one of these protein-rich snacks within an hour of your workout for optimal recovery:
• Greek yogurt: it has twice the protein of the traditional kind
• Turkey slices
• Tuna, canned in water
• Hard-boiled eggs
• Cottage cheese
• String cheese
• Glass of low-fat dairy or soy milk
• Short on time? A high quality whey protein powder or ready-to-drink shake will do the trick. [For more on supplements, check back later this month. We will be doing a blog post all about them!]
And don’t forget about carbs! In addition to providing energy, carbs actually help your muscles absorb protein better, promoting recovery.
Adding some fruit to the snack ideas above will provide needed carbs and a host of other nutrients (such as dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants…) Whole-grain crackers or pita pair well with turkey or tuna. Here are some of my favorite post-workout combos:
• Greek yogurt + berries
• Cottage cheese + pineapple
• Apple + string cheese
• A fruit & yogurt smoothie (Try ½ banana, ½ cup berries, ½ cup Greek yogurt, and 1 cup milk of choice)
Want more support?
Fueling properly pre and post exercise will help you optimize your workouts. But reaching your fitness goals is about so much more than just what you eat before and after exercise. You may have heard that a healthy lifestyle is 20% exercise and 80% your food choices and while there is no real science behind those numbers, the basic premise is absolutely true: you can’t “out-exercise” a poor diet!
For more support with your nutrition plan, schedule a free phone consult with Registered Dietitian & Certified Personal Trainer Alissa.
Want to spend more time in the gym and less in the kitchen? Check out Good Measure Meals new *FUEL menu line. High in protein and packed with nutrient-dense, organic grains and veggies, it’s designed athletes and active individuals who want to eat well, and don’t want to spend hours on meal prep.
This post was contributed by GMM Registered Dietitian Alissa Palladino.