The right nutrition can improve performance and performance in the gym, as well as give greater resistance. For this reason, it’s good to ask yourself what to eat before working out. Yes, because eating foods that are difficult to digest, exercising on an empty stomach, or overeating isn’t exactly what nutritionists recommend doing before exercising.
So here’s some advice on what you should eat for lunch, breakfast, and dinner and what quantity. We will also talk about snacks that, if healthy and light, can boost pre-workout energy and foods to eat after the gym to regain strength. Are you ready?
What, How, And When To Eat Before Training
Workout and healthy nutrition: what to eat before doing physical activity? It’s really important to ask yourself this question, as nutrition, sport, and health go hand in hand, so the first rule is:
- Make sure to eat meals before or after a workout. Physical activity must be performed balanced, and it is not correct to think that fasting before or after training can help you lose weight. Pre-workout fasting will make you more hungry, and once you get to the table, you will overeat, making your workout in vain. Even if little, your body must be used to eating something. Otherwise, you risk compromising the normal course of your metabolism. To face a sporting activity, you need the right energy, primarily from nutrients such as carbohydrates and sugars in the blood and proteins, useful for muscle mass growth. If you were to skip meals, the body would not have the nutrients to support the efforts made during training.
- Training on an empty stomach can cause muscle catabolism and hyperglycaemic crises, especially if you exercise for more than half an hour. Therefore, before any sporting activity consumes energy, the main meal must be represented by foods rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates with a glycemic index between a low and medium level.
Any examples? Cereals include barley, oats, spelled, rye, rice, whole meal pasta, bread, legumes, green leafy fruit, and vegetables. If skipping meals is wrong, so is overeating before going to the gym, thinking of burning all the excess calories this way. In short, as in all things, you need to adopt the right measure and, in this case, the most suitable amount of food to consume pre-workout.
It should also be noted that the energy requirement varies according to the type of sport practiced, the amateur or competitive level, the intensity of the physical effort sustained during the exercises, and the body weight to act as fuel and energy source necessary to balance the effort. Consequently, it is important to identify the foods you need before a specific physical activity, be it running, swimming, skiing, or other, just as it is essential to follow a long-term food program if, for example, you practice sport at a competitive level.
Taking athletes as a reference, for example, depending on their body mass, their muscle tissue consumes a mixture of carbohydrates and lipids which varies according to the type of training performed and the intensity of the physical exercise: carbohydrates are consumed before the workout, in purely aerobic exercise, the muscles use above all fats, while with the increase in the intensity of the work, a mixture increasingly rich in carbohydrates is consumed.
- To increase your performance, it is not only what you eat before or after a workout or a race that counts, but also your daily eating habits and a balanced and correct diet to follow, which a nutritionist or dietician can prepare.
- Going to your doctor, you can request to refer you to a nutrition specialist, to whom you must indicate your habits.
After that, the nutritionist will be able to understand what you need to change in your diet, whether it is simply increasing the number of meals in a day or the amount of food you are used to ingesting.
- Furthermore, to ensure that energy is available in the right quantity and at the right time, it is important that you know not only what to eat and how much but also when because the metabolism of the three major nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats ) and for their consequent transformation into the energy it takes time.
- For this reason, if you consume a complete meal rich in proteins and carbohydrates, such as a lunch or a hearty breakfast, you must wait at least 3 hours before going to the gym and swimming pool or playing outdoor sports.
The wait can be reduced to 2 hours if foods containing complex carbohydrates are consumed, such as a plate of whole meal pasta with tomato sauce accompanied by a portion of vegetables and a fruit, which slow down the absorption of glucose into the blood, glycemia, to flow in the muscles constantly during physical efforts. If you have a light snack, you can wait even just 30 minutes.
What To Eat For Breakfast Before The Gym
Have you wondered what to eat when you train in the morning? If you like to go for an early morning jog or workout at the gym, here are some good nutrition tips to follow before physical activity. To choose what to eat before training, it is necessary to consider the duration and intensity of the exercises, the physical form, and the age of those who practice sports. However, there are some general indications to follow, such as the high digestibility of the meal, the right amount of energy, and correct hydration.
There is certainly breakfast among the 5 most important meals of the day. After regular hours of sleep, getting up with the thought of starting the day with a good breakfast will certainly be a happy occasion. Any nutritionist will never tell you to skip breakfast. On the contrary, you will experience that it is the main meal, so you can take certain sugars and proteins. Naturally, everything will be kept under control without exceeding the doses. Starting from the main meal of the day, i.e., breakfast, remember that it must be particularly rich and nutritious. We recommend doing it 1 hour before playing sports, and the recommended foods are:
- a couple of rusks or
- pancakes with jam or honey or
- A portion of cereals (preferably rolled oats which provide the energy needed for intense and short-term exercise).
Our big advantage is that we are already quite used to a healthy and rich breakfast. If you don’t digest milk well or are intolerant, try the delicious Zymil milk or Zymil yogurt, which is delicious and available in many different flavors. But breakfast should always be preceded by a glass of water with a little lemon juice to purify yourself as soon as you wake up. At the end of the exercise session, you can have a snack with fruit, fruit juice, or juice to replenish breakfast with mineral salts and new energy.
And what to eat if you get hungry between meals? What is the ideal snack for a sportsman? Here are some ideas! In the middle of the morning, between one light main meal and another, you can include simple snacks to digest before training, especially if demanding physical activity is expected, such as 1 hour of jogging or swimming or 1 hour of intense exercises in the gym.
Conversely, if the physical activity to be supported is less intense, such as yoga or pilates, it is optional to have a snack. Eventually, you can take a good fruit smoothie to acquire the right liquids to face the workout. Always carry a small bottle of water or drink to hydrate your body every time: before, during, and after training. Some ideas for a light snack? Before training, you can eat:
- An avocado or banana is rich in potassium, a mineral that improves muscle recovery;
- a smoothie;
- a low-fat yogurt ;
- a granola bar or other energy bar;
- a couple of rusks with jam, especially before a race;
- a mini toast with ham;
- Macronutrients with a high protein value, such as a handful of dried fruit, in particular walnuts, almonds, raisins, or chia seeds, loaded with omega 3, proteins, and antioxidants, excellent if an intense workout awaits you;
- Brown rice biscuits, which have a lower glycemic value than normal biscuits.
On the other hand, flax seeds should be avoided, particularly fiber-rich, with the risk of causing abdominal swelling and gastrointestinal disorders that would hinder your daily training session. On the other hand, as regards smoothies and centrifuges to be consumed before the gym, a real powerhouse in terms of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, antioxidants, and mineral salts is a smoothie based on fruit and green leafy vegetables, which does not weigh down and therefore facilitates digestion. It is prepared quickly by placing spinach and lettuce leaves, a few stalks of celery, 1 banana, 1 apple, 1 pear, the juice of ½ lemon, and a little water in the blender.
What To Eat For Lunch Before Going To The Gym
If you intend to train after the lunch break, the foods you can include in your pre-workout menu must be starches, like pasta or brown rice, and proteins, vitamins, fibers, and minerals. And for a healthy heart, however, it is better to avoid fats and limit the use of salt. Yes, then also to foods rich in lean and highly digestible proteins: to white meat, such as chicken breast or turkey breast, to be alternated with fish or eggs, and to be accompanied by a salad dressed with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil raw olive oil or with a plate of steamed vegetables.
Greenlight also refers to potatoes, especially sweet potatoes, as an excellent source of carbohydrates to increase muscle mass, and quinoa provides energy and contributes to muscle well-being. You can combine these two ingredients in a special salad to be consumed in the office before going to the gym.
What To Eat For Dinner Before Going To The Gym
If you train in the evening or late afternoon, the two main meals, breakfast, and lunch, must be nutritionally important. Regarding dinner, however, our advice is to be light, especially if you want to do some fitness or any workout afterward. We advise you to prefer raw vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, and lettuce.
Fresh fruit, such as bananas or dried fruit, will also be fine without exaggerating the quantities. Yes, also to a plate of whole meal pasta with tomato sauce to be eaten at least 1 hour and 30 minutes before training or choose whether to have fish, vegetables, or legumes for dinner. After playing sports, remember to fill up on energy with a light post-workout snack.
What To Eat After The Gym
To eat after training, foods that allow not only to recover lost strength and liquids but also help to strengthen the muscles are indicated in particular. Any examples? We are talking about fruit, among which we recommend apples, kiwis, bananas, and vegetables such as spinach, celery, and cabbage. Fruit and vegetables can be eaten raw, cooked, blended, or centrifuged. As for vegetable salads, however, you can dress them with a drizzle of raw extra virgin olive oil and a handful of chia seeds.
In the post-workout, avocado is highly recommended, which helps the body fight the formation of free radicals as it is full of antioxidants. It can be eaten alone, added to salads, or spread on slices of whole meal bread. For a change, other perfect foods before and after exercise are eggs, which help stimulate metabolism and the formation of muscle mass, chicken, and rice. The chicken must be rigorously grilled or boiled. Experiment with only a few special sauces or gravies. In comparison, the eggs will be preferably hard-boiled or fried without adding too much cheese or other ingredients, such as sausages.
Greek yogurt is excellent for recovery, rich in protein and a significant amount of calcium, so it is the right ingredient to eat post-workout with a teaspoon of honey. Otherwise, try the delicious Zymil Honey and Vanilla Greek Yogurt, which is light, lactose-free, and useful for daily well-being. Want an idea for a more solid snack? Then try the hummus, loaded with calcium and protein, thanks to the tahini, the sesame-based sauce it contains. You can eat it with some vegetables or spread it on a slice of whole meal bread.
Also Read: Stretching: What Is It For?