Best pre- and post-workout foods

Eating right, working out and staying fit are the three mantras that the pandemic has taught us. While most people have made some form of workout part of their daily routine, they still struggle to lose weight or maintain weight or even stay away from ailments. The most important factor, apart from a fitness trainer, is knowledge about foods and how they affect the metabolism or hamper the results of the workout. Eating right has also been a key focus in Ayurveda too. It ensures a balance in vata, pita and kapha doshas that is pivotal to all yogic asana.

Pre-Workout Foods

It is always advisable to eat something at least a couple of hours before any kind of workout. There are a couple of reasons behind this theory. Firstly, one does not feel low and dizzy as food fuels the body with enough glucose. Secondly, the results are better compared to a workout on empty stomach.

1. Banana: Bananas are excellent pre-workout fillers. They are rich in potassium and carbohydrates. The carbohydrates in them are easily digestible and ensure not to make you feel full during workouts. Bananas also contain natural sugars that help in maintaining the glucose level of the body. Thus helping in beating fatigue. Bananas can be had wholly as a fruit or can be added to toasts or smoothies or porridges. One need not add extra sugar to them.

2. Smoothies: Smoothies are an excellent way to nourish the body with vital nutrients. Smoothies can be made with just a combination of fruits, like strawberry and apple, or muskmelon and green apple. They can be made with a combination of milk with fresh fruits and dry fruits. For example, milk with banana and almonds or milk with blueberries and raisins. Smoothies can be made with yoghurt and fruit. For example mango, coconut and yoghurt or papaya, yoghurt and honey. Smoothies can also be made with vegetables like cucumber, carrots and celery. Adding fruits and vegetables into milk or yoghurt ensures the replenishing of calcium along with hydrating the body. Herbs like mint and dill add the required taste and texture to the smoothie.

3. Porridge: A simple English style oats porridge or an Indian style daliya is a great way to start the day. A wholesome oats porridge with seasonal fruits is light on the stomach and revitalises the blood with necessary supplements. One can also opt for the humble desi daliya with loads of seasonal vegetables to beat the hunger pangs before and during the heavy-duty workout.

4. Energy bars: As the name suggests an energy bar offers required energy to the body. One can opt for a simple homemade bar with dates, flaxseeds and coconut. Dried figs, coarsely crushed almonds and honey also make up a lip-smacking energy bar.

Foods to be avoided: It is advisable to have a small meal that is light, non-greasy and has no artificial sugars or sweeteners. A heavy meal that is fried or has loads of fat and sugar makes the body sluggish and one finds it difficult to breathe while working out.

Post-Workout Food

Having balanced food, in terms of nutrition and quantity, after a workout is equally essential. One needs to recharge the lost energy and nutrients.

1. Wraps with vegetables: A whole wheat chapatti slathered with low-fat yoghurt and sautéed vegetables are a perfect way to shoo away the grumble of the stomach. One can go creative and add fresh herbs to the yoghurt. One can also throw in tofu or paneer while sautéing the vegetables.

2. Eggs, toast and sandwich: A toast of multi-grain bread with eggs in any form, like boiled, omelette or poached, adds wholesome goodness to the tired body. Similarly, sandwiches with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes do the same magic.

3. Rice, dal, vegetables and buttermilk: The trick to gain maximum from the workout is to spend minimum on food. Eating what is available at home is the easiest way to reduce weight. One cannot get more wholesome than having a simple home-cooked unpolished or brown rice with dal, seasonal vegetables and a glass of buttermilk.

Foods that can be avoided: One can stay clear off the shelves that sell creamy mayonnaise or any kind of spreads or butter or full-fat milk or yoghurt. These have fats and sugars that create a huge hurdle in the path of desired results of the workout.

Working out calls for a balanced diet and loads of hydration. One has to keep in mind what goes inside the body and how that affects the rate of metabolism. It is crucial to keep a count of the calories consumed. Hydrating the body with adequate fluids is critical too.

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