Eat to a better workout
January 13, 2019
By Rouba Haddad, RD MSc. Registered Dietician
How to Eat to For More Effective Workouts
Some people love organization and routine. That’s not me. For me, the crazier the better. I love spur of the moment. Spontaneity. Surprises. I love it all!
But when it comes to eating well and achieving health goals, even I admit that organization and routine (snore) are hugely important and really make things easier.
A lot of people come to me after they start working out (which is amazing for your health) and aren’t losing weight.
It happens. Suuuuuper frustrating, but it happens.
Usually it’s because working out makes you hungry. So you’re burning all kinds of energy, but then you’re giving your body even more energy, sooooo… yeah. Your body does need a little more fuel, but it needs the right kinds at the right time.
This is where getting organized and scheduling food into your workout routine matters.
Before your workout
Don’t workout on an empty stomach. A lot of people think this is a good idea and it just isn’t.
Fat is hard to burn. Your body needs you to really get moving and sweating for it to be able to start breaking down fat. For that, your body needs sugar to fuel it. Without that fuel, you just won’t be able to get the momentum needed to burn fat.
Plan it into your routine that 30-60 minutes before a workout you have a high energy snack or meal that includes carbs, fibre and protein. Here are some ideas:
- Whole wheat bagel, 1% cottage cheese, ½ cup of fruit
- Smoothie with greek yogurt, almond milk, fruit and oats (or protein powder)
- Egg white omelette with whole wheat toast
- Low fat protein bar with fruit
After your workout
Since your body burns sugar so efficiently, your blood sugar levels will have dropped after a workout. If you don’t eat until hours later, you’re just not going to feel well. This is how you end up lightheaded, cranky, with a headache and why your body starts craving super sugary foods. It needs sugar!
Don’t give those cravings a chance to set in. That’s how you end up eating an entire bag of Sour Patch Kids and questioning all your life choices.
Make a post workout snack part of your routine. A perfect post workout snack is actually chocolate milk. Yum! The sugar to protein ratio is really perfect for your body’s needs. If you don’t drink dairy, go for sweetened almond milk with ½ scoop of protein powder.
For all things
Whether it’s working out, keeping up with your kids, starting a new job, or anything, always plan meals and snacks around what your body needs to keep going, recover well and function at its best.
If you aren’t sure how to do that or what your body needs and when, ask a professional. A real one. Like a proper, licensed dietitian. Someone who talks about real food, not cleanses and fasts and putting butter in your coffee. Don’t do that stuff. Eat food.