This week, we have a guest blogger giving some tips for the optimal nutrition to give you the best workout possible. Ryan Hartman is the Wellness Director and a Health Coach at City Fit Concierge. Enjoy!
It is official. The seasons have finally changed and the temperatures are heating up. With that comes beautiful flowers, more time outside, and a renewed effort to hit the gym. While we can do all of the bicep curls we want, your body needs the proper fuel to maximize the time spent in the gym and get results. A slice of pizza before the gym just isn’t going to cut it, but what counts as good food to consume before and after a workout? Do you need carbs, proteins, fats, or some combination thereof?
Let’s lay the groundwork that if you aren’t eating a balanced, healthy diet on a regular basis the foods you consume right before and after a workout aren’t going to do much good to achieve your goals. Now, if you have good baseline nutrition, proper pre and post workout food can take you up another level. Before a workout, you want to consume some complex carbohydrates, fat, and protein. The complex carbohydrates provide sustained energy and continue to supply your muscles with energy throughout the duration of the workout. Some healthy fats also supply long term energy by slowing the release of insulin that results after consuming food. This is important to help keep energy levels consistent versus having the roller coaster ride that straight sugar would provide. Lastly, you want to include some protein to help get amino acids in the bloodstream. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are essential during and after a workout to build your muscles back up. Putting this all together could look like greek yogurt mixed with banana and almond butter. This dish has all of the components plus the greek yogurt has casein protein which is one of the slowest digesting proteins, meaning you will have a steady stream of amino acids in your blood during the workout. Here is a pro’s tip to take it one step further: eat beets or watermelon before your workout for an extra pump. Beets and watermelon contain compounds that act as a vasodilator (that’s just a fancy term for opening up your blood vessels) so they allow blood to pump more freely, bringing needed nutrients to power through even the toughest of routines.
Food after a workout is just as crucial as your muscles are feeding after your sweat session. Stick to a complete protein which has all of the amino acids required by the body and a blend of carbohydrates since they get digested quickly and time is everything. Have your food no more than one hour after the gym to maximize the window of recovery. This could look like some sort of shake with whey protein, honey, and topped with granola or a meal of chicken, sweet potatoes, and a coconut water. Add some greens like spinach to your smoothie or meal for an extra anti-oxidant punch!
While eating to fuel and recover from your workout is important, don’t overeat just since you pumped some iron. Be smart with your choices because overeating, no matter how physical you are, won’t get you the results you are necessarily looking for. Follow this game plan to bring out the best you!