Thinking about doing couch to 5k? Working on that summer bod before lockdown restrictions ease?
If, like me, you’ve spent most of the several lockdowns eating nothing but fast food with a side order of garbage, maybe it’s time to start thinking about a change in diet. We’re not here to judge (unfortunately that’s not part of my job description) and as much fun as a bucket of fried chicken sounds – your poor heart is probably trying its hardest to pump through the layers of grease that currently surrounds it.
Regardless of what kind of regime you’re working through, your diet is an incredibly vital part of your transformation process.
A few of you may think “well if I don’t eat, I won’t gain any more weight.” This can actually do more harm than good. Research has shown that our bodies burn the same amount of fat whether we eat or not – but consuming the right foods before and after your workout can help boost metabolism, and turn your body into a fat-burning machine.
The best pre-workout foods contain a combination of complex carbohydrates and protein. What they do best is keep your body energized during your workout and a good balance of both slowly releases this energy to keep your routine going for as long as your body can handle.
Here are some examples to help get you started:
Apples & bananas
If you only have a few minutes before you start your workout, just shove one of these in your bag. They contain easy to digest carbohydrates and are also great sources of potassium and antioxidants. These help prevent muscle cramps of course – and I’m sure you’ll agree that there are few worse feelings than an immense cramp.
Any assortment of nuts
Walnuts, almonds, cashews – heck throw them all in a little bag and make a trail mix! They’re great for hikes but you can pretty much eat them for any workout. High in protein and unsaturated fats. Packed with antioxidants which helps oxygen circulate around your body better.
Peanut butter & jam sandwich
It’s always good to see something like this on any list talking about exercise. The peanut butter is full of protein which will keep you full you up long after your workout, whereas the jam and bread combo is a huge source of carbs.
We approve the pre-workout PB&J.
We thought we’d save the most obvious for last. If you work out in the mornings, then a bowl of Quaker will help your body maintain its blood sugar levels and keep you energised throughout your regime. If you’re looking for a source of protein and a way of keeping your bones strong and healthy, then we suggest mixing your oats with low-fat milk.
After giving it everything you’ve got, you’re bound to feel hungry afterwards. Eating or drinking any of the following will help refill you greatly by maximising results and even help boost recovery.
However, you’re going to want to skip out on as many carbohydrates as possible.
Check this one out, right. Studies have shown that athletes who had a glass of chocolate milk after their workout show increased levels of recovery due to the proteins found in milk. Plus chocolate milk is like 90% water anyway, so it’s a good way of replacing a lot of the fluids your body loses during a workout.
Grilled Chicken (or turkey), brown rice and veggies
Skinless chicken may be a bit boring, but sprinkle on a bit of salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika, and you have yourself a tasty post-workout source of protein. Brown rice contains more fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants compared to its white counterpart. And vegetables such as carrots, asparagus and spinach create a
lovely, hearty combo to help cut out saturated fats and provide a much needed boost to your immune system.
Tuna & spinach sandwiches
Much like eggs and chicken, tuna is high in protein. What the former two aren’t rich in, however, are omega-3s which are healthy fats that help with the post-workout inflammation and soreness. Pair it with spinach in whole-wheat bread and you have yourself a healthy alternative to a Subway sandwich.
Egg and whole-wheat toast
The bread’s carbs are going to put the energy you burn back into your body during exercise, while the fibre keeps your blood sugar levels in check. Adding an egg (or two) on top is a sure fire way to get complete proteins down you as well. The eggs can be boiled, scrambled or fried, the choice is yours and we don’t discriminate.
Oh, and make sure you don’t forget to hydrate! Water is by far the easiest way to flush out any toxins that your body produces, and ideally you’re going to want to aim for 8 pints a day for maximum results!
Why go to the shops tho? Get your workout meals