Your body needs fuel in order to expend energy, and when you work out, you’re expending more energy than usual. Making sure you’re eating enough will give you the power and stamina you need to sustain your workout routine, whatever form of movement you choose, but paying attention to the quality of your food has an impact as well. Not only can proper nutrition improve performance during your workouts, it’ll impact the results, too.
Why is nutrition important?
The foods you eat, and when you eat them, have a direct effect on your energy levels during a workout, impacting how hard you’re able to work and how quickly your body recovers afterwards. The more quickly you recover, the better you’ll perform in your next workout, and so on. All of this helps towards improving your results.
If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t be tempted to skip meals to help you reach your goal. Depriving your body of essential nutrients and calories can set you back in the long run by reducing muscle mass, increasing recovery time and causing fatigue, negatively impacting your performance in your next workout.
Which foods improve workout results?
Following the basics of healthy eating is a good place to start: up your fruit and veg intake, choose lean proteins, healthy fats, and wholegrain carbohydrates, and make sure you’re drinking enough water.
Carbohydrates provide the energy that your muscles need during a workout, and eating enough carbs will help you to maximise your performance during workouts.
Protein helps to build new muscle, and repair muscle tissues damaged during exercise. Eating high-quality proteins will increase your muscle mass, meaning muscles are more powerful and better able to perform during your workouts.
Vitamins and minerals absorbed from eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables will help your body’s essential functions and ensure it’s operating at its best. Deficiencies can cause symptoms like fatigue and muscle weakness, slowing progression in your workouts. Try adding unsaturated fats such as avocados and nuts, as these will help your body to absorb certain nutrients.
What should I eat before and after a workout?
Pre-workout, a well-balanced meal including carbs, protein, fats, fruit and vegetables will give your body high quality fuel to get through the session. After your workout, be sure to replenish your muscles with a protein rich meal, including carbs to restore your glycogen levels.
When should I eat?
Eating your pre-workout meal 2-3 hours before your workout will ensure your body has had time to absorb the energy it needs from your meal, without digestion slowing you down during your workout. A lighter meal (like a smoothie or yoghurt and fruit) can be eaten 1-2 hours before.
Post-workout, consuming protein within 30 minutes of finishing activity is best for muscle growth (a protein shake is a great option here). Generally speaking, you should aim to eat your post-workout meal within 1-2 hours of finishing your workout.
Proper nutrition will not only improve performance during your workout, but will help your body bounce back following exercise and leave you ready to give 100% in your next session.
The best nutrition plan to accompany your workout routine will vary from person to person. To ensure your diet is giving you the best support in your exercise routine, book a session with a nutritional therapist in our Camden clinic. They’ll take into account your workout intensity and long-term goals, and work with you to develop a tailored nutrition plan.