Optimal nutrient intake before and after exercising helps the body in performing and facilitating speedy recovery from fatigue. This also helps in charting out the intake of carbohydrates (pre) and proteins (post) for enhanced strength and an improved body composition. Eating right helps in contributing to an efficient achievement of fitness goals.
An important factor in this regard is time. One should refrain from eating right before the workout, because digestion is a time taking process, and doing any form of exercise immediately after eating could lead to discomfort in the stomach. For the more intensive workouts, meals should be consumed before 1-3 hours whereas 30 minutes are good enough for the lighter workouts. In case of shortage of time, try and look at lighter snacks like fruits, nuts or an energy bar which are easier to digest.
It is advisable to eat good and fast digesting carbohydrates and protein after the workout. While the 30 minute protein window myth has been well demystified, it is still good to eat a nutritious meal or a small snack within 30-60 minutes of working out, so that you get the burst of energy to move through the rest of the day. If you are doing an IF (Intermittent Fasting), then the timing would change as per your plan.
Here are 5 pre workout meals that we could list right off the top of our heads:
Oats are a whole grain and a great source of carbohydrates and fibre. They can be eaten with fruits, can be boiled like pulao sauteed with vegetables or blended into a fruit smoothie. One bowl is a good enough serving for a person. Oats also help in controlling cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
#2 SPROUTS AND LEGUMES
Sprouts coupled with green vegetables are an excellent way to induce proteins and vitamins in the body. Easy to make they should be soaked in water for at least 6 hours before consumption. To make it tastier, sprinkling oregano or salt and lemon juice is a good option. They also account for a healthier and more beautiful looking skin.
#3 FRUIT SMOOTHIES
Blended alone or together, fruits like mango, banana, pineapple and watermelon makes for a good quick pre-workout snack. The carbs in these fruits breakdown sooner to provide the right amount of energy while working out. Citrus fruits and high water content fruits are good for keeping the muscles on the roll.
#4 WHOLE GRAIN BREAD SANDWICHES
Catch 2 slices of brown bread or any whole grain bread and stuff it with veggies like tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber with a tinge of butter or cheese. For a grilled version, put freshly grated paneer and chopped tomatoes along with salt and pepper. This can also help in curbing the craving for cheese.
#5 CURD AND DRY FRUITS
Curd provides for nutrients like calcium and proteins. Adding grated cucumber with salt and roasted zeera (cumin) makes a good and heavy meal. Dry fruits like raisins, walnuts and almonds can be accompanied to account for the carbohydrates for the needed energy boost.
And here are 5 post workout meals options to help you upkeep the momentum:
Eggs are the way to provide the right amount of proteins and minerals to the body. They can be boiled or scrambled. Consuming milk with a raw egg is an instant source of energy.
Quinoa is gluten free and is a suitable grain for most people. It contains the two most essential post workout nutrients - proteins and carbohydrates. It can be made into khichdi with sauteed vegetables for taste.
#3 LEAFY GREENS
Chop some greens like spinach or kale carrying a high nutritional value and top it with an olive oil dressing. This will help in the restoration of healthy fats in the body.
Grilled chicken accompanied with vegetables will lead to the restoration of energy and fluids which get drained out after the tedious workout session.
#5 CEREAL WITH MILK
To keep the body up and running, eating cereal with milk is one the quickest meal one can consider after working out.
Most importantly, listening to your body and understanding its requirements for fitness is the key to staying healthy. Try and avoid deep fried food items and hydrate yourself with water all day long.
Kerksick, C. M., Arent, S., Schoenfeld, B. J., Stout, J. R., Campbell, B., Wilborn, C. D., Taylor, L., Kalman, D., Smith-Ryan, A. E., Kreider, R. B., Willoughby, D., Arciero, P. J., VanDusseldorp, T. A., Ormsbee, M. J., Wildman, R., Greenwood, M., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Aragon, A. A., & Antonio, J. (2017). International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14, 33. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0189-4
Parr, Evelyn B.1; Heilbronn, Leonie K.2; Hawley, John A.1 A Time to Eat and a Time to Exercise, Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: January 2020 - Volume 48 - Issue 1 - p 4-10 doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000207