Water, sports drinks, energy chews, protein bars, recovery shakes, bananas, carbohydrates – which should you put in your body before a workout? What about after? Which help aid weight loss? Which help aid muscle building?
We know there’s a lot to take in. That’s why our athletic trainer Jessica Thompson weighed in with these five tips for fueling up for exercise…
- Water is the way to go during a workout: During an actual workout or game, water is the way to go. It helps replenish and hydrate you throughout your exercise session.
- Save your sports drinks for before or after your sweat session: Studies have shown that the nutrients in sports drinks aren’t absorbed in your system right away, says Jessica. Therefore, use it before or after a workout when your body has time to absorb the nutrients and properly replenish.
- Power through strength training with protein: Hitting the gym to lift weights and do some strength training? Try to eat about 90 minutes before your workout. The pre-workout snack should consist of a protein or energy bar and some fruit, Jessica says. Protein helps you build muscle and fruit contains natural sugars to give you an energy boost.
- Kill your cardio workout with carbs: Ramping up for a cardio workout? Be sure to get some carbohydrates before your workout. A small meal of whole grain carbohydrates (like wheat bread or crackers) along with fruit can help you power through a cardio workout and give you the energy you need.
- Carbohydrates key after a workout: When recovering from a workout, it’s important to replenish yourself with plenty of carbohydrates and some proteins within 30 minutes of finishing. With its mix of carbs and protein, chocolate milk is a great recovery food. And, even though you just worked out, it’s important to avoid anything with a lot of fat, says Jessica. Your body needs nutrients after exerting itself, and that’s not something fatty foods can typically provide.