The Best Pre- & Post-Workout Nutrition For Women Who Want To Maximise Results
Looking good and feeling good go hand in hand. If you have a healthy lifestyle, your diet and nutrition are set, and you're working out, you're going to feel good.
What nutrition should women eat before and after exercise? The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the intensity of your workout, your fitness goals, and your individual nutritional needs.
We are here to provide you with a comprehensive guide to help you optimise your pre- and post-workout nutrition.
To fuel your workout, it is important to consume enough carbohydrates to provide energy for your muscles. The general guideline is to eat a full meal three to four hours before exercise. This meal should include complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, quinoa, wholemeal bread or sweet potato, along with a moderate amount of protein and healthy fats.
If you prefer a smaller snack before exercise, choose easily digest carbohydrates. A banana, a cup of applesauce or a handful of crackers or pretzels can give your muscles the energy they need without causing digestive problems.
However, if you plan to exercise later in the day, it is recommended that you eat a high-fat, high-protein meal, such as chicken and avocado salad or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, two hours before exercise. This meal can help stabilise your blood sugar levels during exercise and prevent dizziness.
After exercise, your body needs nutrients to recover and repair muscles. It is important to consume a mixture of carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes to an hour after exercise.
Protein is essential for muscle recovery and can come from sources such as poultry, fish, soya beans, legumes, eggs, Greek yoghurt, cheese and tofu. On the other hand, carbohydrates replenish glycogen stores, which provide energy for the muscles.
Good sources of carbohydrates include fruit, vegetables, whole grains and dairy products. In addition to carbohydrates and protein, foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries, nuts and seeds, are recommended to help reduce exercise-induced inflammation.
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Water Is Crucial
Proper hydration is essential for optimal exercise performance, and it's important to drink water before, during and after exercise. As the Mayo Clinic points out, it's important to drink extra water to replace fluid lost through sweating, especially in hot or humid weather or at high altitudes.
To achieve recommended hydration, aim to drink at least 8 ounces of water 30 minutes before exercise and 8 ounces every 15 minutes during exercise. According to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), it's also a good idea to add carbohydrates to your drink at a concentration of 6-8% if you're exercising for a long time.
It's also important to start drinking early in the workout, as thirst doesn't develop until 2% of body weight has been lost, which can impair performance.
The Bottom Line
Eating the right foods before and after exercise can help optimise exercise performance and improve recovery. The recommended pre-workout meal should include complex carbohydrates, moderate protein and healthy fats, while the post-workout meal should consist of a mix of carbohydrates, protein and foods rich in antioxidants. Proper hydration is also essential for optimal performance.
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Pre-exercise nutrition is important because it provides the energy needed to perform the exercises, aids muscle recovery and reduces the risk of injury.
It's recommended to eat a meal that contains carbohydrates and protein, such as whole grain toast with peanut butter or Greek yogurt with fruit.
Post-exercise nutrition is important for muscle recovery and replenishing energy stores. Consuming protein and carbohydrates after exercise can improve recovery and help build muscle.
It's a good idea to eat a meal or snack that contains both protein and carbohydrate within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. Examples include grilled chicken with sweet potatoes or a protein smoothie with fruit.
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