You often struggle to wake up early in the morning just to head to the gym. For work and fitness forms the balance in your life. Or maybe you’re one of those fitness freaks who loves heading to the gym every morning. You don’t even require an alarm to wake you up, your enthusiasm is enough! (I envy y’all).
All things set, shoe laces are tied up tight but sometimes you feel fatigued or out of energy in the first set itself. Have you ever wondered why?
The answer is just self-explanatory. You aren’t eating enough. Your body does require the right dosage of fuel to keep on pumping. Without proper food and nutrition, you are not going to make a difference even if you work out extra. One good way to tackle this body problem is workout meals.
After all, there’s a reason trainers emphasize on what to eat before a workout, what to eat after a workout, pre workout snacks, post workout protein shakes and so on…
So, the other day, I bumped into my friend who was heading to the gym. She insisted me on accompanying her for her routine workout. She started off with cardio and proceeded towards the sets. But, between her second set, her body slowly began to give up. I asked her whether she had something to eat before working out. And I was correct; she has skipped her pre-workout meal.
Eating healthy and right has a lot to offer in the way we look and feel about ourselves. We tend to eat less or not eat at all for burning fats. But as per research, nutrition plays an important role in shaping our body. Healthy eating reduces the risk of obesity and other health diseases.
A regular gym person must have proper nutrition in his meal to avoid injuries, muscle soreness and enhance your performance. It goes the best with the saying, “You are what you eat!”
There are a number of reasons to have a scheduled workout complimentary meal but along with the amount, one should also know how to eat right. It is beneficial for affirmative reasons-
You aren’t out of energy during the workout.
Your blood sugar levels and carbohydrates are in place so you don’t have to worry about the wear and tear of your muscles.
Staying hydrated is equally essential as it won’t lead to fatigue and laziness.
Covering up for all the calories burnt during the workout helps your body replenish and recover.
Last but not the least; it’s a common misconception that only gym and exercises lead to desired results. If you’re not eating right, the body is not nourished by the required carbs, proteins, carbohydrates and the entire working out process goes down the drain. The inner system needs these essentials to recover and modify according to the plan.
In fact, about 60-70% of workout works more on meals and the rest is covered up by the gym exercises. Staying healthy has its own charm after all!
This might have kept you wondering about what to eat before a workout, the kind of protein shakes before or after a workout which you could include in your diet, post workout snacks etc.
Let’s have a look at some the simple and convenient meals which go hand in hand with your workout schedule along with some easy-peasy tasty quickes!
Pre-Workout Meal plan
An ideally balanced pre-workout meal should consist of foods ranging from complex to simple carbohydrates and proteins. One should have pre-workout meal around 40-60 minutes before the workout to allow your system carry out its regular digestion process. A huge range of variety offers sufficient amount of carbs such as dry fruits, yogurt, whole wheat toast, oatmeal, bananas, sweet potatoes, fruits, 20-30gms of meat, legumes, eggs, fish etc.
This will help in releasing the right amount of energy during the workout. You can also include some black coffee. But, this should be included before a workout and not after as it has more benefits when you use it with a pre-workout meal. It helps in stimulating your energy levels and fat burning process (and also wakes you up entirely).
If you’re a vegan, you could include lentils, beans, tofu, soya, and seeds (Flaxseeds, pumpkin, sunflower and chia seeds). Nuts can be a complimentary. You can have granola bars as a pre- workout snack. Here’s a quick if you’re running late –
2 bananas cut into pieces, some walnuts, yogurt, a dash of jam, sprinkle some cardamom and you’re good to go! You can pop in some cranberries or raspberries based on your preferences.
Also, don’t forget the water!
Post Workout Meal plan
This is the most important part of your day and DO NOT SKIP THIS! Having a post workout meal is very important as your body is in a recovery phase and if not fed right, it starts consuming your stacked up protein which is already present in your body. It gets quiet exhausting over a period of time so we have to try and avoid that.
Post- workout snack helps in rehydration, refuel, build your muscles and improves your next workout.
A quick thing you could have on your way home or maybe to the work is protein shake after workout. You could have whey protein and mix it with a fruit to make it taste better. The perfect energizer till your next stop!
The best time to consume the post- workout meal is 30-40 minutes after the workout. Carbohydrates and proteins are given more emphasis as it helps in preservation of glycogen, stimulate insulin levels, regulate the blood flow, whereas fats provides minerals and vitamins. Again, you have various options here such as- chicken breast, egg omelets, Tuna, Cottage cheese, fruits, Rice etc.
If you’re a vegan you could include- leafy vegetables, avocado, chocolate milk, cereals and skim milk, wheat toast with peanut butter, lentils, tofu and soya with basmati, Baked beans, sauté mushrooms etc.
When your craving takes over you- It’s time for salads!
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Working out and healthy stuff is easier said than done! A lot of times, we feel the temptation to give in to our cravings in the middle of the day or when suddenly your stomach starts growling loudly! Here’s the time when you can include some salads with peppy sizzling to satisfy your healthy lifestyle plus cravings.
Your salads can include fruits- oranges, sweet lime, bananas, cherries, etc mixed with yogurt and some nuts or dry fruits. If you’re someone who believes has faith in green leafy vegetables, you can try out mixing some lettuce with chickpeas and sprouts. The sizzling can be made of lemon, pinch of sugar and salt, and pepper. You’re all set to go!
You can even have a bowl of mixed fruits and carry some detox water once a week. An easy recipe of detox water is to mix up some lemon slices with mint leaves and ginger (optional) and let it stay in the bottle overnight. You can use it the next day. This helps in flushing out unnecessary toxins in your body.
Some Super-Foods to Rescue?
This section is for those who love to experiment with nutrition and food. Basically, super-foods help optimize your body’s ability to function by providing a large source of vitamins and nutrients. They are easily available and have much higher nutritional value for less cost. Affordable, Healthy, and Increased benefits, good option isn’t it? Here are some of the superfoods you could include in your diet to improve your fitness regime nourish your body with natural goodness.
- Oats- Oats are high in fiber which helps in better digestion and keeps your heart healthy.
- Cinnamon- This small spice has a lot to offer! Along with some taste, it has high nutritional value which has antioxidants to lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
- Blue-berries- It is an antioxidant which reduces inflammation and has cancer- fighting properties.
- Flaxseed- Provides essential fatty acids, reduces inflammation and helps increase the metabolism. (It’s good for your hair too).
- Salmon- Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, reduce inflammation and keeps your heart healthy.
- Raw Milk- It is rich in vitamins and minerals, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and vitamins A and D.
- Yogurt- Is probiotic, has calcium and takes care of your bones.
So, here’s the thing, whether you’re a gym freak or just a fresher trying to lay hands in the fit world, eating right is the most important thing you shouldn’t be missing out on. You may or may not be able to follow strict schedules but small pre-work out snacks and post-workout meals plan does help you in the long run to achieve the results faster. You can always have cheat days, but staying healthy shouldn’t be an option.
Good luck to all fit fellas out there!