According to the National Institute of Aging, there are four categories of workouts – endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Achieving results is not just about pumping iron and staying fit. A big factor goes into fueling your body with the right food. With all the information available on the internet, it can be challenging to figure out the best foods to eat before and after workout. To help you out, here is a breakdown of what to eat before and after a workout.
Endurance, also known as aerobic exercise, is the ability to exert yourself for long periods. Its many benefits include better cardiovascular health and good weight control.
It's important to note that endurance training is not just activities like running or swimming. The term endurance exercise can refer to any physical activity that increases your heart rate and makes you breathe harder, but only for a moderate amount of time, like 30-40 minutes.
There are two different types of endurance workouts: continuous and interval. Continuous workouts are simply a steady pace, whereas interval workouts are varied with rest sessions in between.
Regardless of your current fitness level, you will benefit from adding endurance exercises into your weekly routine.
Food to eat before an endurance workout
The best foods to eat at least an hour before an endurance workout are complex carbohydrates with a little bit of lean protein or healthy fats.
- Banana with peanut butter roll-up
- Low-fat yogurt with berries and granola
- Oatmeal with applesauce and cinnamon
Food to eat after an endurance workout
The best foods to eat after an endurance workout are high in carbohydrates, low in fat and moderate in protein.
The carbs will replenish the glycogen your body uses during the workout, while some protein will help your muscles recover. But don't go overboard on fat, as it will slow down digestion, which is the last thing you want after a long run or bike ride.
Here are some of the best foods to eat after an endurance workout:
- Dried fruit
- Rice cakes
- Orange juice
Strength training is a type of physical exercise specializing in resistance to induce muscular contraction, which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. Strength training can provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being when properly performed. This increases bone, muscle, tendon, and ligament strength and toughness, improves joint function, reduces the potential for injury, increases bone density, increases metabolism, increases fitness and improves cardiac function.
Food to eat before strength training
The best pre-workout foods for strength workouts are those that provide sustained energy (i.e., carbs) and a little protein to repair muscle fibres damaged during exercise.
- Cottage cheese with berries
- Low-fat chocolate milk
- Yogurt smoothie with fruit
- Whole-grain cereal with milk and fruit
Food to eat after strength training
After strength training, you need a specific combination of carbs and protein to build muscle tissue and replenish energy stores. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the best recovery foods contain carbohydrates and protein in a 3-to-1 or 2-to-1 ratio. For example, if you eat 40 grams of carbs, you should also have 15 to 20 grams of protein.
You can get the right mix of carbs and protein through various types of food, including:
- protein shake/ smoothie made with milk, yogurt and fruit
- Yogurt with fruit and granola
- a wrap made with cheese and deli meat
- a peanut butter sandwich
- Chicken and avocado sandwich
- Sweet potato and tuna salad
- Salmon and brown rice bowl
- Chocolate milk
- Fruit smoothie with peanut butter
Balance training is the process of improving your body's ability to control its position and movement in space. It has a positive impact on performance and injury prevention.
A nutritious pre-workout meal for your balance training will help you avoid feeling tired, sluggish and light-headed during your workout. It will also sustain your energy levels throughout your entire training session without spiking blood sugar levels followed by a crash that leaves you feeling drained. The proper nutrients will benefit your workout performance and speed up recovery time following your workout.
Food to eat before balance training
To get the most out of your workout, you need to balance your blood sugar and fuel up with the right nutrients. The following are some of the best foods to eat before exercise.
- Kale and Collard Green
- Coconut Oil
- Cottage Cheese
- Chia Seeds
- Wild-Caught Salmon
- Beet Juice
Food to eat after balance training
As with any other workout, eating the right kinds of food after you've finished balance training is essential if you want to keep your body healthy and energized. Here are five foods you should eat after balance training:
- Protein Shakes
Flexibility training is a type of physical activity that improves the ability of joints to move through their full range of motion. It enhances flexibility, which is an important component of physical fitness.
Flexibility training can be done with or without equipment at home or in a gym. Improved flexibility has many benefits, including preventing injury, improving posture, and reducing muscle tension.
Flexibility training – is an important part of fitness. But to get the most out of your stretching, be sure to eat a healthy snack beforehand.
Food to eat before flexibility training
When it comes to food for flexibility training, there are certain foods that can help you do better in your workout. Many of these same foods can also enhance your flexibility training overall.
- Peanut Butter and Toast
- Honey with Yogurt
- Whole Wheat Bread with Turkey
- Whole grain pasta or rice are good too.
Food to eat after training
After a workout, your body needs to recover properly. The type of food you eat after a rigorous flexibility training session will help with muscle recovery and repair. These foods can help with that:
- Cottage Cheese
- Chicken Breast
- Greek Yogurt
You can also check out our collection of tasty recipes here: VPA Protein Recipes
We only scratched the surface here regarding food and exercise, but hopefully, you've gained some insight into how the two can work together to help you meet your fitness goals. Taking these foods into account will help give you lasting sustenance. This can mean a lot of difference to the intensity that you can put forth in your workout and muscle recovery post-workout.
We might be talking about food, but never forget to replenish yourself. Electrolyte drinks are perfect for any form of workout before, during and after training.