It’s no surprise that eating certain foods can help you lose weight; however, you might not be aware that eating certain foods before and/or after exercising can optimize weight loss. That said, some foods are better than others – with complex carbs and protein an ideal choice before exercising and simple carbs with protein a prudent choice after exercising. It’s also recommended by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine that you don’t wait longer than two hours after exercising to eat something or it can negate the effects of working out.
The science behind this suggests that poor nourishment before exercising can force your body to draw energy from your liver and kidneys, making it harder to lose weight. As for nourishment post-workout, exercising depletes your muscle’s glycogen reserves so you need to replenish them as soon as possible. It’s recommended you do this within 30 minutes of working out while your metabolism is most active, which will increase the likelihood of burning excess fat.
Before Exercise: Nuts
Nuts of almost any variety contain loads of protein, especially almonds, which also contain heart-healthy fats and fiber. A 100 gram serving of almonds typically contains about 3.9 grams of carbohydrates, an ideal amount for even the toughest of workouts. If almonds aren’t available, walnuts are just as good. Of course, always drink plenty of water to wash the nuts down and remain hydrated!
Before Exercise: Oatmeal and Berries
Oatmeal is always a health choice when it comes to food, but it’s even more useful as a pre-workout food since it contains lots of protein. However, we need to include some blueberries for their carb content. The berries have the added advantage of being full of vitamin C, potassium (good for your liver) and fiber. Combining these two foods gives you all the necessary nutrition for an optimal workout.
Before exercise: Whole-grain bread with low-fat cheese
This is a simple choice and it might be the preferred option for those on a tight schedule. Believe it or not, this food’s simplicity doesn’t hinder its nutritional value. It gives you lots of healthy protein and a sustained level of carbs, as opposed to a sharp spike typically given by other carbs. The choice of cheese is yours really, as long as it is low in fat!
After exercise: Whey protein with almond milk
There are pros and cons when it comes to protein shakes, but for the purposes of quick sustenance and some much needed nutrition after exercising, a shake is ideal – it requires little digestion so your body absorbs it quickly. We suggest mixing the shake using almond milk since it is rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium.
After exercise: Scrambled eggs with a glass of OJ
Eggs are one of the easiest sources of protein in the world; however, they are almost free of carbs (1.1 grams per 100 grams of eggs). That’s why we suggest consuming some scrambled eggs with a small glass of pure orange juice, ideally freshly squeezed at home. This combination gives you fiber, vitamins A, C, and D as well as protein and calcium. In case you’re wondering about whether or not to keep the yolks: celebrity trainer Russell Bateman says:
“Throwing away the yolk is a big no-no…it’s packed full of essential nutrients.”