Diet tips to follow before, after, and during your fitness training sessions

Diet tips to follow before, after, and during your fitness training sessions

picture: stock struggle

During exercise, our body needs extra energy. But what is the extra quantity? Well, the answer depends on the type of activity, the intensity, duration and frequency of the exercise. “Nearly every professional athlete, in whatever sport they do, trains for at least 6-8 hours per day,” says Dr. Kiran Rukadekar, MD, obesity consultant, celebrity dietitian and founder of Diet Queen. “This is huge in terms of energy expenditure, water and electrolyte loss, and wear and tear. Providing the body with energy by eating the right foods and fluids, in the right amounts, at the right times is important when exercising, even if it is only for an hour.”

When it comes to exercise, you can set your own schedule according to your workouts and other activities, but remember – better fuel, better performance. “Better and adequate food and fluid intake should be taken before, during and after exercise to help maintain blood glucose concentrations during exercise, increase exercise performance, and improve recovery time,” adds Dr. Kiran.

diet

picture: stock struggle

before exercise

“Not refueling before a workout is not good for you as you will not have enough energy to maximize your workout. The chances of losing protein and muscle mass are also very high if you don’t eat properly before a workout,” shares Dr. Kiran.

Solution: Ideally, fuel up two hours before your workout with the following methods.

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains (wheat, rice, guar, bajra), whole wheat toast, low-fat or fat-free yogurt, whole-grain pasta or noodles, brown rice, fruits and vegetables. You can add low-fat or skimmed milk in any of these preparations.
  • Don’t eat meals rich in fats and proteins, as these foods digest more slowly in your stomach and remove oxygen and energy from your muscles.
  • Always keep bananas for instant energy. Right before the activity, say 5 to 10 minutes before exercise, eat a banana. Easily digestible carbohydrates give you instant energy and don’t make you feel lethargic.
diet

picture: stock struggle

mid workout

Dr. Kieran explains the reason for refueling during exercise, saying, “The stores of glycogen in the muscles and liver are very low. You need an immediate supply of energy during the actual training. There is also a massive loss of fluid that can cause dehydration.”

The solution: Whether you’re a professional athlete who’s been training for several hours or have a low-to-medium routine, keep yourself hydrated by drinking small, frequent sips of water, infused with electrolytes. “There is no need to eat during exercise for an hour or less. But in the case of vigorous, long, high-intensity workouts, eating every half hour is recommended. Dr. Kiran suggests that carbohydrates such as raisins, bananas or nutrition bars are the best options.

diet

picture: stock struggle

after the training

“You need to refill all the lost energy, and increase strength and muscle mass after a workout,” says Dr. Kiran.

The solution:

  • Stock up on liquids. Drink water of course, but plain water mixed with natural juices like lemon or orange will also provide some carbohydrates. Even coconut water is a good option once in a while.
  • During exercise, you consume a lot of carbohydrates, which are the primary fuel for your muscles. Within half an hour of your workout, eat an appropriate food containing carbohydrates and proteins. Your muscles can store carbohydrates and proteins as energy and aid in recovery.
  • Eat protein-rich foods like legumes, dairy products, and dried fruits to help repair and grow your muscles.
  • If you are not overweight, you can eat fat in moderation. Eat healthy fats with carbohydrates and protein.

Note that everyone is different, and a lot depends on the type of exercise you do. So, do what works best for you, and pay attention to what you eat, because it is just as important as what you do during training!

Read more: Exercise 101: Workout for Busy Professionals Made Easy

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