Whether you love to dance around the kitchen, plunge into glistening pools, or enjoy a spot of Yoga in a sunny garden, we all know that exercise helps to keep our bodies in peak condition.
Yet, nutrition plays just as important a part in our health – and our waistlines! – particularly when it comes to hitting those exercise highs.
In fact, what we eat both before and after a workout is more important than many of us may realise. For starters, piling our plates high with the right fuel can energise our bodies, helping us to maximise all that hard work.
As well as this, it can refuel hungry muscles, helping them to grow stronger and also repair. And, let’s not forget hydration too! Keeping hydrated, both before and after we exercise, is crucial in keeping our bodies healthy and happy.
But how do we know what to eat? Surely we can’t just reach for any old thing before we pull on our trainers?
Here are some of our favourite workout boosting foods to enjoy, both pre and post-workout.
Pre-Workout boosting foods
When it comes to the best pre-workout foods, it’s all about giving our bodies healthy, sustainable energy. And, no, that doesn’t mean grabbing a bumper bag of Haribo!
Aim to eat around half an hour to a few hours before you exercise, although this is all trial and error – what works for you may not work for someone else! Ideal foods that give you energy to workout include:
One of our favourite ways to start the day (and a workout!), oats are packed with fibre and slow release carbs, which help to energise even the toughest and sweatiest of workouts. They’re also rich in B vitamins, which help our bodies to turn those magical carbs into energy. If you can’t face a whole bowl full of oats, try adding a few tablespoons to our Protein Smoothie and blend!
Beautiful bananas are the perfect pre-workout fuel, particularly if you’re a runner. They’re full of easily accessible carbs and also contain plenty of potassium, which helps to support nerve and muscle function. Try adding slices of banana to wholegrain toast, or enjoy on top of protein-packed Greek yogurt for a perfect pre-workout meal.
Complex carbs help to ensure that our bodies release energy slowly and steadily during a workout. Simple yet satisfying wholegrain toast is a great source, and is perfect to enjoy before you lace up those trainers. Simply slather in peanut or almond butter for lots of body-loving fats, too.
Greek Yogurt & Fruit
A bowlful of Greek yogurt and fruit is a dream team before you workout. The fruit is high in simple carbs, which are a great energy source, while Greek yogurt is loaded with good-quality protein to help the muscles grow stronger and fitter.
As a word of warning…!
Of course, please remember not to overeat before you workout. There’s always too much of a good thing! Eating too much before exercise can cause sluggishness, as well as uncomfortable indigestion and even vomiting. Go easy!
Please also remember that it’s important to drink plenty of water, both before and after exercise. Water can help us in so many ways – it can lubricate the muscles and give them strength and flexibility, helps to transport oxygen and glucose around the body, and even helps to regulate body temperature.
Post Workout Foods:
After you’ve finished working out, you’ll probably be on Cloud Nine as those endorphins flow high. However, it’s crucial to eat within a few hours of exercising (ideally you should try to eat at least a snack as soon as you can) so that your body can refuel and repair.
Here are some of our favourites to help heal the body, and to give you longer, stronger and leaner limbs:
Scrambled Eggs on Wholegrain Toast
Loading your plate with protein and carbs is ideal after you’ve hit the gym. Eggs are full of quality proteins, and are also relatively low in calories, too. They also contain all of the nine amino acids – essentially the building blocks of protein – as well as vitamin D and body-loving omega-3 fatty acids. Meanwhile, toast is full of complex carbs to help your body replenish any glycogen lost during the workout.
Salmon and Quinoa Salad
A super carb that puts (most) others to shame, quinoa is fantastic to enjoy after you’ve hit the gym. It’s full of muscle-loving protein and is also high in fibre and complex carbs. We love serving it with salmon for the ultimate post-workout meal – salmon is high in lean protein and anti-inflammatory omega-3s to help rebuild muscles and boost performance.
We love sweet potatoes because they’re every bit as versatile as they are delicious. Why not try some mashed sweet potato after your next workout? Your body will benefit from complex carbs, as well as fibre, vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese and potassium.
Our delicious Protein Smoothies are perfect for sipping on after your workout and can help your body and muscles to refuel with 21g of organic pea protein. They’re also designed to keep you feeling fuller for longer, as well as blood sugar levels stable. For the ultimate post-workout drink, try to boost yours with handfuls of fresh fruit – the carbs help to restore your body’s levels of glycogen and rebuild damaged muscles. Bananas are great as they help to restore potassium, while blueberries have been shown to speed up recovery after workout.
As always, make sure you rehydrate after you exercise! Try sipping on coconut water, which is packed with electrolytes, or you could also enjoy our H30 Hydration drink. This yummy, delicately-flavoured drink provides your body with all the minerals and ions needed for super hydration for both skin and health, as well as magnesium to ease tiredness and fatigue.
And as an extra boost…
If you’re really looking to supercharge the body, then try our Re-Set formula, which is fantastic lose weight healthily, and maintain long-term weight management. Its potent combination of active ingredients work to stabilise both blood sugar levels and metabolism, whilst promoting lean and healthy tissue, delivering total top-to-toe well-being.
Now, pull on those trainers, stock up the fridge, and get moving!