Most people think it is okay to work out on an empty stomach, though it is not recommended to work out on an empty stomach, and this is especially important for people with blood sugar problems. If you cannot even grab a protein bar or the idea of forcing down a bite makes you want to gag, that is all right. But ideally, health experts advise to fuel up before you work up a sweat and drink water before, during, and after.
If you're facing the dilemma of what to eat before and after your daily exercise routine then you should read ahead for a brief look at key tips that'll help you determine what they should be.
1. Time your pre-workout snack right
The ideal time to eat is between 30 minutes to three hours before your workout. That way, you are not still digesting when you hit the gym floor, but you have not gone and used up all those helpful calories yet. Having said that, your workout plan can be customized. You may have to experiment to see which time frame does your body good. For example, if you are working out first thing in the morning, you probably would not be able to eat a whole meal before you hit the gym. Instead, a small snack or mini-breakfast should suffice.
2. Drink plenty of water
It is best to get your body hydrated before even thinking about heading to the gym. One way to determine your overall hydration status is to check out the color of your urine first thing in the morning. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, lemonade-colored urine indicates appropriate hydration, while dark-colored urine (think apple juice) indicates a deficit in H20. The goal is to minimize dehydration which can cause low energy and muscle cramps or spasms without drinking too much water.
3. Go for a pre-workout snack with carbs
Carbs equals energy. When we eat them, they break down into glucose, enter our muscle cells, and give us fuel to exercise at our maximum capacity. Your muscles store glucose in the form of glycogen and dip into these reserves when you're putting them to work. When it comes to what to eat before a workout, eating carbs before you exercise ensures that you'll have extra glucose on hand if you need it to replenish those glycogen stores.
Eating after a workout is non-negotiable because there's a pressing need to replace the calories you used up. For one, it is important to replenish the glycogen that has been depleted during your exercise. Second, eating protein after a workout is a must for speedy muscle recovery, particularly after weight training.
1. Rehydrate ASAP
Replenishing the fluids you lost while sweating as soon as possible is even more important than eating right away. Don't stop drinking just because you're done exercising. Getting enough water after exercise depends on many factors, namely the length and intensity of the exercise, the environmental conditions, and your individual physiology.
2. Make sure to eat something soon.
Especially if you just worked out really hard, your body has just used up the energy it needs to function at max capacity. If you aren't able to eat a full meal right away, have a snack after your training, then a full meal a few hours later.
3. Refuel with carbs and protein.
Remember, you've blown through that glycogen and torn up your muscles. Therefore your post-workout meal should be high in complex carbohydrates that break down slowly and are loaded with healthy protein.
In conclusion, remember that you can end up fatigued and battling low blood sugar when you do not eat after a workout. You're also inhibiting your body's repair process. Ultimately, skipping your post-workout meal will make it harder to reach your fitness goals.