Power Your Workout: What to eat before, during and after exercise
Make the most out of your workouts by choosing the right snacks! Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing foods to eat before, during and after exercise.
What you eat before your workout can determine how long you can last during exercise. If you plan to exercise for 60 to 90 minutes, it is helpful to have a small snack to make sure you have enough energy to keep your blood sugar stable and fuel your muscles, while also settling your stomach. The snack should be a good source of carbohydrates, but not too sugary. Here are a few smart options to have 30 to 60 minutes before your workout:
- Yoplait Greek Yogurt
- PowerBar Energy Bites
Hydration is key to a successful workout, whether you are an all-star athlete or simply trying to exercise for better health. Make sure you drink lots of fluids throughout the day, both before and after your workout. While you are exercising, you should try to drink 8 to 10 ounces of fluids for every 15 to 20 minutes of strenuous exercise. So if you exercise for 30 minutes, you will need 16 to 20 ounces of fluid. This may seem like a lot, but this ensures that you will have enough fluid in the body to produce the sweat needed to regulate body temperature. And to help adjust to drinking during exercise, try to sip your fluids frequently rather than gulping them down at once. This will help prevent the heavy, sloshing sensation from fluids in your stomach during exercise.
Post-workout snacks and drinks serve the purpose of replacing the fluids you lost by sweating, replenishing glycogen (energy) stores in your muscles, and providing protein to help rebuild muscle tissue that may have been damaged during exercise. For post-workout snacks to be most effective at helping you recover, they should be consumed within 15 minutes after your workout. An ideal snack will include fluids, a carbohydrate-rich food, and some protein. Here are some great snack options to have after your next workout:
- Lowfat Kefir - This is a great tasting cultured milk beverage that is rich in protein and contains a good proportion of carbohydrates to help refuel your muscles. 1 cup or 8 ounces is all you need to get 140 calories, 20g of carbohydrates, and 11g of protein.
- Designer Whey Protein Shake – If you prefer the traditional protein shake post workout, this is just for you. Each 10 ounce shake contains 100 calories, 5g of carbohydrates, and 18g of protein. Since the carbohydrate content is so low, you will want to pair this with a small granola bar or a piece of fruit to ensure that your blood sugar doesn’t drop too low after exercise.
- Whole Grain Cereals & Bars – About a cup of whole grain cereal or one whole grain snack bar paired with 8 ounces of skim milk or nonfat Greek yogurt is a good combination of carbohydrates and protein for muscle recovery after exercise. Look for cereals and bars that are either a good source of fiber and/or made with whole grains. This will help you feel full until your next meal, while make sure your body has what it needs for recovery.