According to The American College of Sports Medicine, adequate food and fluids should be consumed before, during and after a workout to maintain the blood glucose concentration during the workout and to maximize performance.
What to eat before a workout?
Working out on an empty stomach is like driving a car without any fuel. Doing so, will not let you burn maximum calories. Ideally, you should fuel up two hours before you start working out. Here is what you should eat and drink
- Hydrate well
- Eat healthy carbs like whole-grain cereals or whole-wheat toast with skimmed milk. You can also have fat-free yoghurt or fruit (apple/banana).
- Do not eat saturated fats as they slow down the digestion and take away the oxygen and energy delivering blood from your muscles, which can impact your workout.
If you exercise right after you wake up, have a piece of fruit like banana or apple.
During the workout
Regardless of whether you are a professional athlete or someone who does moderate physical activity every day, you need to keep your body hydrated by having sips of water in between the workout.You don't need to eat in between the workout if your workout lasts for around an hour. But if you practice for longer, you can have 50-100 calories in between like low-fat yoghurt, banana or raisins.
After your workout
It's very important to fuel your body after you finish your workout. Here is all that you need to eat and drink:
- Fluids: Hydrate yourself. You can have water/juice/smoothie.
- Carbohydrate: Carbs are the main fuel for your muscles when you exercise. 20-60 minutes after you work out, your muscles can store carbs and protein as energy and help you in recovery.
- Protein: Protein helps in repair and growth of your muscles and thus is a must-have after work out.
These are general guidelines and can vary from person to person depending on the type of workout they do and the kind of digestive system they have.
Try it yourself and talk to your nutritionist to see what works the best for you.