While you probably do not want to eat a whole meal right before working out, you should be properly nourished before you go through significant physical activity.
When it comes to your pre-workout, I usually recommend going for a small snack about one hour before exercise to help your energy and performance, not to mention your mental clarity while you are exercising.
But if you have a longer workout or more intense workout planned, you will possibly need more pre-exercise calories.
Simple carbohydrates are faster types of fuel and much easier for you to use during exercise compared to proteins or fats. These need more time to digest, which can also lead to gut discomfort.
Snacks such as banana, apple, a piece of toast, or a bagel are perfect. For longer exercise, your pre-workout food should also have protein such as peanut butter or nuts around one hour before you start.
What about after exercise?
Post-workout nourishment is very important too, especially if you want to be sure you get all the gains you have worked so hard to get.
Post-exercise electrolyte repletion and hydration is also very important, especially if you sweat a lot or did a hard workout or in heat where dehydration was more likely.
When it comes to post-exercise food, a top recommendation is a four to one carb to protein ratio depending on what your exercise length and intensity was.
I recommend going for whole foods instead of processed foods. You can change your food choices based on the kind of workout you have just done. Eat antioxidant-rich foods and protein for better muscle recovery.
Also go for omega-3 fatty foods like flax and chia seeds, salmon, walnuts, and tuna to lower inflammation.
And while you might be tempted to go for bran flakes after you workout, experts say that might not be the best choice if you have a sensitive stomach.
After long workouts, your gut could have a hard time digesting a lot of fiber. If you have gut problems, I encourage eating simple carbs that are low in fiber and then more nutritional foods later on.
Author: Scott Dowdy