'You are what you eat’ – that is never more so than when you are trying to get the best performance from your workouts. The right food at the right time can make all the difference. Try these ideas for size.
Surprisingly, one suggestion of the best food to eat before a workout is - nothing!
Training ‘fasted’ has been shown to pay dividends both during and after the workout. This is because it can direct your body to burn more fat as there is nothing else available.
Running on empty isn’t for everyone. Something light and filling is the answer for that pre-workout snack. A mix of protein and fibre will give slow-release energy without overload. Try a banana, or peanut butter on wholegrain bread.
For the usual hour or so in the gym, you won’t need more than a slug or two of water. If you are on a long run or bike ride, then you do probably have to refuel en route. This will definitely be the case if you are doing a marathon or even a half marathon.
This is the time for a sports drink or a small glucose-filled snack. You want food that gives you an instant energy top up, without diverting blood flow from muscles to your digestion.
The Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption effect (EPOC) is the extra calories used by your muscles as they recover after exercise. This ‘afterburn’ means that you are still burning extra calories even when you stop exercising. The effect is small but definitely there.
Refuel after your workout with carbs, which will go straight to your muscles. Add some quick-release glucose from fruit, and some easily digestible protein. Greek yogurt is good for this.
The right food at the right time, and in the right quantity, will help all your hard work to pay off.
I was also told that skimmed milk was a good thing to drink during exercise. I don't actually do this but wondered if I should bother, or if there's any science to it?
I also take just a bottle of good old tap water, kept in the fridge if I remember. If I were running a marathon it would be different but the standard workout really doesn't need an energy drink. It will rather defeat the object!
A peanut butter and banana sandwich is one the easiest, tastiest and most tasty things to eat before or after a workout, in my opinion.
So many people seem to take glucose/energy drinks with them to the gym. I just take water, or skimmed milk. Like you say, you don't need glucose unless you're working out much longer than an hour.
I love to train 'fasted'. Nothing better than an early-morning workout followed by a eggs on toast and a smoothie!