Snack And Keep Hydrated Before And After A Workout

man preparing food

Think about it. You’ve just completed a mammoth workout and used a lot of energy in the process. It stands to reason that your body will somehow need to replenish that energy, right?

It’s really difficult for your body to recover its energy levels after a workout without some form of nourishment. That’s why eating a snack after a workout is so important.

In most cases, it doesn’t even matter what sort of snack it is, as long as you have something.

The importance of the post-workout snack

Ok, so we’ve already gone over the importance of eating a snack. Let’s delve a little bit deeper.

During your exercise, your muscles are continually using stored glucose. This is called glycogen and can quickly become depleted.

You find that endurance sports and running use up more glycogen than the resistance exercises like weightlifting.

One of the other major effects is muscle tears. That’s why you can do a lot of damage to your body if you don’t look after it (hence, giving it fuel after a workout).

Giving your body the right carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats are essential for your body to recover. If you don’t, then you’re setting yourself up for future months and even years of an injury.

Protein

We all know that regular exercise helps with muscle growth, don’t we? But, did you know that the muscle can only grow if you give it time to recover after a workout?

Eating a meal that is high in protein helps support muscle growth. It also helps your muscles heal after several muscle tears.

That’s why it is easier for some people to tone their muscles a lot quicker than others. It’s the rate of recovery and what they feed their body to aide that recovery.

Carbohydrates (excerpt taken from The Truth About carbs)

To be honest, protein and carbohydrates contain roughly the same amount of calories per gram. It is the different sensation you feel that is different.

The feeling of being full is different depending on the type of food you have eaten, the variety and portion size.

This is different from person to person. Some people feel full after eating protein-rich foods like fish, eggs, and beans. Others feel full after eating meat and other high protein foods.

The important thing is, ensure you include the right proportion of these for a healthy and balanced diet.

If you can ensure that starchy foods make up about a third of what you eat and you increase your intake of fruit and vegetables, this should be the key to a healthy balanced diet.

Should You Snack Before A Workout?

We’ve talked about having a snack after a workout. It’s also a good idea to have a snack before a workout too. For example, eating a healthy amount of carbs before a workout ensures you have enough glucose in your system which helps you replenish glycogen stores.

Most people find that if they don’t have a snack before a workout they generally don’t have as much energy and they feel weak and tired.

Foods that are great before a workout are ones that digest fast and give you a boost of quick energy, such as:

Examples include:

  • a granola bar
  • a piece of fruit
  • oatmeal
  • Greek yogurt (this contains carbs and protein)
  • dried fruit
  • crackers
  • a rice cake
  • a piece of toast
  • Timing is everything

    Timing may not seem that important, but trust me, it matters.

    The best time to have a snack is between 30 minutes and 3 hours before your workout.

    The reason for this is, you’re not still digesting this meal whilst you are working out. Makes sense, right?

    It also gives your body time to digest and store all the fats and nutrients it will need for your workout.

    Note: These times are not set in stone and will vary from person to person. The idea is to find out what works best for you and your body.

    If you are working out first thing in the morning, then the reality is, you probably won’t have time to have breakfast before a workout.

    That’s why it is a good idea to have a small snack beforehand (kind of like a mini breakfast). Something like a smoothie or a snack bar should be OK.

    Drink It Up

    So far, we have concentrated on having food before a workout. However, keeping yourself hydrated is equally important.

    Having something to drink before and after a workout is certainly recommended. To determine whether you are drinking enough is to check the colour of your urine.

    Yeah, I know, this sounds pretty gross. However, there’s no better check than for you to have a quick look.

    If your urine is a strong lemonade-color in the morning, then this is generally OK and means your body is well hydrated.

    On the other hand, if it is a darker apple juice type colour, then this would suggest that your body is not properly hydrated.

    That’s why it is encouraged for you to drink a pint of water as soon as you get up in the morning.

    This water is basically restoring the fluid your body lost during the night.

    Please understand, there’s no size fits all here.

    Summary

    I think you can now see how important it is for both your health and your wellbeing to ensure you snack and keep hydrated before and after a workout.

    You only get one body, so why not look after it?

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