A great workout is the perfect start to a great weekend. There’s much more to it though than just jumping on the treadmill. Nutrition and working out go hand in hand. Supplying your body with the nutrients it needs before, during and after your workout can help you get the most benefit out of your workout and feel great while doing it.
Let’s start with breakfast. Timing your meal and your workout is key. You cannot have a beneficial workout without eating first and no, cold pizza does not count as a sufficient breakfast. To really increase your energy for your workout you want to focus on carbohydrates (Mayo Clinic Staff). To list a few; whole grain cereals and bread, Greek yogurt, and fruit. For some drinks you can add in fruit juices, low-fat milk and coffee-yes coffee. Caffeine can actually help boost your energy before a workout, but proceed with caution. Plain black coffee mixed with low fat milk is fine but once you start mixing in sugary flavorings your morning pick-me-up can leave you with an upset stomach while you’re climbing the stair master. Along with the quality of your food, quantity is key. If you eat too much you’ll likely be feeling slow to start your workout but if you eat too little you may not be able to finish all your reps. If you plan on having a large meal you should wait three to four hours before working out (Mayo Clinic Staff).
A small meal or a few snacks are perfect if you plan on fitting in a workout one to three hours from the time you eat (Mayo Clinic Staff). Snacks are so great, but only some of the time. If your workout is going to be quick, a snack won’t do much aside from preventing senses of hunger, but if your workout is an hour or longer a snack containing some good carbs can be very beneficial (Mayo Clinic Staff.). When I say snacks I don’t mean a bag of flaming hot Cheetos, unfortunately. However, grabbing a quick smoothie, low fat granola bar, whole grain crackers, peanut butter or a sports drink would all make for a great workout.
Saving the best most important tip for last STAY HYDRATED. Water is so important for you all day everyday but especially for workouts. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends to consume: two to three cups of water during the two to three hours before your workout, one half to one cup of water every fifteen to twenty minutes during your workout, roughly two to three cups of water after your workout for every pound lost during your workout. Water is always a safe bet when you want to replace lost fluids during a workout but you can also add in a sports drink for days after an especially tough workout to help with maintaining electrolyte balance (Mayo Clinic Staff).
With all of this in mind it is so important to remember that every single person is so different meaning what their body specifically needs is so different. Make sure to reach out to speak to a Registered Dietitian to get help personalized to your specific needs. An appointment at Advanced Nutrition Consultants can be little to no cost to you with insurance and only a phone call away!
Reviewed by Trish Casey, MS, RD, LDN
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Maximize Your Workout by Knowing What - and When - to Eat.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 22 Mar. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20045506.