Exercise has amazing health benefits. The benefits of exercise span from fighting depression to losing weight and even reducing your risks of many diseases.
As you make exercise part of your routine, you should also make a habit of eating right before and after a workout. Knowing how to eat before and after you exercise is essential to maintain your energy levels and to build muscle.
Read on for the “when, why and how” of eating before and after a workout.
Before Cardiovascular Exercise
About an hour before doing any cardiovascular workout, you should eat a balanced meal or snack of protein and carbohydrates. Try to aim for a mix of 2/3 carbs and 1/3 protein.
A balance of protein and carbs will help restore energy levels and build muscle mass while you workout. Eating before a workout will also help you workout longer, and at a higher intensity level.
A pre-workout snack should be light but nutrient dense. Try a slice of cheese on a multi-grain cracker, or a glass of milk and an apple.
Before Weight Training
Have a snack or meal about an hour before engaging in weight training. Aim for a balance of ? carbohydrates and 2/3 protein.
The carbohydrates will ensure you have plenty of energy to perform each set, and the extra protein will help prevent muscle breakdown while maximizing muscle gains.
To get extra protein, try an egg white omelette with vegetables, or almond butter paired with a banana.
After Cardiovascular Exercise
After a cardio workout, it is fine to eat within 5 - 10 minutes.
Eating after doing cardio will help prevent fatigue from setting in, and will re-fuel the body with glycogen, the type of quick energy the brain and central nervous system depend on for fuel.
For quick energy following cardio, eat mostly carbohydrates, such as a piece of fruit or a granola bar.
After Weight Training
Have a meal or snack with protein in it no less than an hour after weight training.
Eating protein with carbohydrates after resistance training helps repair micro-tears in the muscles. Repairing these micro-tears is how muscle is built, and without protein, all that work you did will result in less muscle gain.
A protein shake or chocolate milk are quick ways to fuel your body with the protein and carbohydrates it needs to build muscle after weight training.
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