When it comes to fitness, there are certain universal questions that might be popping in your mind: what kind of workout suits me the best?

How can I lose weight faster?

What can I do to feel energized enough to power through my every workout session?

Well, there is one simple answer that applies to all of these questions: eat. To be more specific, eat the right food at the right time.

We all know that maintaining a good body shape relies on the combination of regular exercise and eating the right food at the right times. And feeding your body before and after every workout is essential for burning the most calories, staying energized, lose weight, building lean muscle, and speeding up recovery.

Why eating before workout is important?

There is a unique fact about this: research shows that whether you eat or don’t eat before exercise, the body burns the same amount of fat. However, if you regularly work out on an empty stomach, it can cause muscle loss. When you’re hungry, your body goes into survival mode and draws protein from muscle instead of from your kidneys and liver, where the body normally looks for protein. When this happens, you’ll lose muscle mass, which can ultimately slow your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose weight. Besides, eating before workout is crucial for fueling the workout itself and maximizing your performance throughout.

The best pre-workout meals contain some form of complex carbohydrate and a protein. Here are some of the recommended foods you can take before your workout session:

  • Water
  • Banana with 2 tablespoons of almond butter
  • Oatmeal with fresh fruit
  • Fruit and Greek yogurt
  • Eggs and whole wheat toast

Eating after workout

During exercise, your body takes the fuel stored in your muscles known as glycogen for energy. While the pre-workout nutrition phase is commonly referred to as the “Energy Phase”, the post-workout portion is commonly referred to as the “Anabolic Phase”. Anabolism itself refers to the ‘building’ or even ‘rebuilding’ of something. Therefore, your post-workout meal is the meal that plays role in supplying your body with everything it will need to repair, replenish, recover, and adapt to the training stimulus that you just provided during your workout.

Your primary goal with your post-workout meal is to consume a significant amount of both carbohydrate and protein in some form soon after your workout. And here are the best foods that you can take to refill your energy after workout:

  • Protein shake made with half of a banana, one scoop of protein powder, almond milk, and hemp seeds
  • Whole wheat tuna fish, hummus, and spinach sandwich
  • Chocolate milk
  • Grilled chicken and mixed vegetables
  • 1 cup of sautéed or steamed vegetables

If your main goal is to reduce or maintain your current weight, it does not mean that you have to eat less. You need to balance your workout and meals well to achieve your fitness goals. While doing that, never do these diet mistakes that will slow down your way to your desired goals.

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