Wondering why, some days, you feel sluggish and simply don’t have the energy to hit the gym hard? The answer may lie what and how you’re eating and drinking – before and after you exercise. These tips can help you keep your energy level up.
Stay Hydrated – Always
Hydration is essential to for optimal performance, especially if you live in a warm climate. Workouts easily drain the body of that vital mix of electrolytes and ions required for efficient function and proper refueling. So drink up all day long.
Avoid Heavy Foods Before Exercising
During intense workouts, blood flow is diverted away from the core abdominal area to other muscles of the body that require more blood flow and oxygen. This could lead to cramps and even diarrhea. To keep the cramps away, avoid heavy meals before a workout.
Time Meals and Snacks Right
If you’re planning a midday workout, have a mid-morning snack about an hour before your workout. The fat and protein stores in the nuts will keep you satiated.
Morning workout? Prepare an adequate helping of carbohydrates beforehand, since after 9 to 10 hours of fasting overnight, the body needs as much fuel as possible. A good combination of banana and slow energy-releasing oatmeal is a good option to supply the needed dose of nutrients.
Make It Cold
Cold foods like a smoothie or Popsicle actually cool the body before a workout session. This can promote better workout performance and lasting endurance, since cooling the body allows the muscles to retain more blood, sends less blood to the skin, and keeps an athlete’s heart rate lower, raising endurance levels simultaneously.
Get the Proper Carb-to-Protein Ratio
For a recovery meal, the ideal ratio of carbohydrates to protein should be 4:1. In addition to carbohydrates, the body is also in need of vitamins and nutrients. A tablespoon of peanut butter has enough fats and protein to go a long way in your workout.
For an early morning post-workout refuel exercise, make it a 1:2 ratio of carbohydrates to proteins. For example, one tablespoon of all-natural ground cacao seeds, a cup of plain non-fat Greek yogurt and a sliced banana.
Drink Chocolate Milk
For post-workout refuel, try an eight-ounce glass of chocolate milk. It does the perfect job of replenishing glycogen stores that have been lost. Plus, it’s the right balance of carbs, protein and fats to revitalize the body.