Itâ€™s a usual myth that you achieve your dream body in the gym. But the fact is that you spend only 1 hour during your exercise but 23 hours outside which actually determines your progress towards your goals.
Exercise is just 30% whereas diet is 70% of your effort. Itâ€™s rightly said that muscles are torn in the gym, are repaired on your dining table.
What you eat throughout the day will have a major impact on the way your body starts shaping up, especially what you eat pre and post workout.
In the most basic sense:
- What you eat pre workout is crucial for fuelling the workout itself and maximizing your performance throughout.
- What you eat post workout is crucial for optimizing the recovery process and ensuring that your body has all of the supplies it needs in order to recover, adapt and improve the way you want it to.
Hence these 2 meals are the most important ones for women who follow a regular exercise routine. The type and quantity of meals differ according to the type and intensity of exercise you follow.
Pre workout meal:
This is known as the â€˜Energy Phaseâ€™ of your workout. The main aim of this meal is to give you energy to work out at your optimal level. As a thumb rule you need to eat something 1-2 hours before your workout to help you sustain through your workout sessions without feeling famished. The meals would differ depending on the type of workout you are doing.
- Cardio/ yoga/ pilates/ zumba: If You are doing any of these activities early morning, its best to do it on empty stomach to help you speed up your fat burning process as the blood glycogen levels would be low on waking up, preferring fat as the source of fuel for energy. Yoga especially on empty stomach is very effective. If you feel weak working out on empty stomach, you can opt for a fruit like banana, dates or a juice to avoid weakness. If you are working out in the noon or evening, you can eat a high fiber carb meal 1 hour before workout like brown bread sandwich/ oats upma/ idli/ fruit salad/ brown rice/ smoothies/ Frankie etc. These fiber rich foods release energy slowly which helps you carry on with your 1 hour of workout comfortably.
- Weight training: Since the aim of this workout is to strengthen, build and tone muscles, it is important to eat high carb-moderate protein meal 1 hour prior workout to feed your muscles with energy, reduce protein breakdown and stress hormone levels. You can opt for foods like egg or chicken sandwich/Frankie, milkshakes, sprouts and curds, low fat paneer with brown rice/ jowar roti, soya poha etc. Try not to do weight training on empty stomach as you may feel weak and not strong enough to pick up weights as per your capacity.
Post workout meal:
This is known as the â€˜anabolic Phaseâ€™ of your workout because the meal you eat post workout helps you to recover, repair and restore the energy in your body. As a thumb rule, you need to eat something within 30 minutes which is the window period post workout to prevent muscle breakdown and begin the recovery process as soon as possible. But before anything else, you must drink ample of water to help you rehydrate and prevent muscle cramps and sluggishness.
- Cardio/ yoga/ pilates/ zumba: Post cardio, it is important to replenish the carbs and electrolytes used up during the workout. Coconut water is excellent to replace electrolytes. Banana sliced lengthwise and spread with peanut or almond butter. Mango smoothie with mango chunks, vanilla yogurt, ice, and honey. Sliced apple with a handful of walnuts. Whole grains, fruits, and veggies are the best sources of carbs post workout. Again, whole foods are best, but smoothies and shakes are a good quick fix. One of the best protein-carb combos is milkshake. It provides an optimal balance of carbs and protein.
- Weight training: Generally women do not indulge in excessively heavy weight training, but moderate training also causes muscle breakdown which needs to be repaired. here protein and carbohydrates are needed after a workout to help repair muscles, replenish the bodyâ€™s glycogen stores, and prevent muscle soreness. You need to opt for simple carbs along with easy to digest and absorb protein within 30 minutes of your workout. Simple carbs are required to help pull in protein into your muscles which is the main component for muscle recovery. Simple carbs like bananas, juices, honey, dates, potato, sweet potato, rice etc are some options. You can get your Proteins from whey protein shake which is the absorbed fastest or else eggs, chicken, fish, low fat paneer, milk, curds etc but these take time to digest and absorb. A combination of carb and protein is the best way to recover your broken muscles. Example: Chocolate protein shake with protein powder, skim or soy milk, and a banana. Half an avocado stuffed with cottage cheese and tomato. Spinach salad with a sliced chicken breast. Whole foods are the best option because they offer complete nutrition. They provide many micronutrients and essential fiber and help keep you feeling satiated. The best whole food choices contain complete, high-quality protein and provide nearly every essential vitamin and mineral.
Planning your meals is the best way to ensure you get the best out of your diet. As you can see, there are quite a few delicious ways to fuel and get the most out of your workouts and trainings. We have to treat our bodies nicely and give them what they need.