BY JAMIE LOBER
Knowing when and how much to eat and drink around workouts can keep you on top of your game.
You have probably heard about the benefits of staying fit as a family. However, you may not be familiar with the great advantages of eating the right foods before and after working out. If you are just getting started, it may be a good idea to talk with your physician about your own nutritional agenda. Recommendations
remain the same for children and adults, yet portion size should vary based on height and weight. What works well for one person may not be the best choice for another, but there are some basic rules of thumb.
Be sure to take personal considerations into account when deciding what to eat before and after working out. “Some individuals can work out on a stomach that is full and others cannot. My recommendation would be an orange and something light like an English muffin, whole wheat or whole grain with a little bit of peanut butter,” says Angie Gibbons, owner of Gateway Fitness Studio.
Before Your Work Out
Before working out, it is essential to choose foods wisely. Your selection can make all the difference in how you perform and feel. “Research recommends selecting foods that are easy to digest, high in complex carbohydrates, low in fat and low in added sugar. Complex carbohydrates should be balanced in carbohydrates, fiber and protein,” says Meredith Potter, dietician at Houston County School System. Carbohydrates are considered your body’s best source of fuel. According to the Mayo Clinic, your body stores some carbohydrates as glycogen in your muscles which will be used when your body needs extra energy. It is advised to avoid items high in sugar like candy bars or sodas because blood glucose levels will rise too quickly and then fall, causing you to feel exhausted. There is some evidence that protein before working out aids the body in increasing protein synthesis.
It is recommended to let your food digest for about thirty to forty-five minutes before working out to avoid feeling nauseous. “You may want to try something light that is a low carbohydrate like nuts or fruits,” says Frederick Smith, assistant at children’s boot camp at One Lyfe Health and Fitness in Macon. Smoothies are a great alternative if you are looking for fruit. “Fruits are full of vitamins, minerals and fiber which are an important part of keeping you healthy,” says Darrya Lipscomb, communications director at the American Heart Association.
You may even challenge yourself to keep track of the fruits you have tried before a work out. This can lead to feeling a sense of accomplishment for trying new things as well as becoming more knowledgeable about a particular food group. You might even find that one fruit or food gives you more energy.
During Your Work Out
Water is an excellent choice before, during and after a light to moderate work out to prevent dehydration. If you are doing exercise of a high level intensity, you may want to try a sports drink because they contain electrolytes and carbohydrates that are easy to digest and quickly restore the body’s energy stores. Often times, how much someone drinks depends on the type and duration of exercise as well as whether you are training indoors or outdoors.
After your Work Out
“As for after the work out, research is clear that eating carbs and protein within 30 minutes of your work out will speed up your recovery time by replenishing glycogen stores and increasing protein synthesis,” says Dr. Michael W. Smith of Web M.D.
The published guideline for carbs is to eat within 30 minutes of completing your work out and to have 0.7-1.2 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight (0.3-0.6 grams per pound). A large banana has 30 grams of carbohydrates.
The guideline for protein is one gram for every 3-4 grams of carbs. Peanut butter has 9 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons, and yogurt is another good source of both carbs and protein. According to the Mayo Clinic, protein assists with muscle development and repair after working out. It is advised to stay away from foods that are high in fat, sugar or sodium because they have the potential to decrease the rate of hydration.
It’s All About You
Once you have mastered what to eat before and after working out, you may want to become more educated about what you eat in your daily life. “Diet is seventy percent of someone’s health and a lot is common sense,” says Gibbons. This means that what you eat can have a large effect on how you feel and your overall wellness. Today is the perfect time to take control.