A systematic training effort requires a proper “adjustment” of the diet as well.
“WHAT” we eat before and after a workout process is crucial for the effectiveness of the training and for the physical benefits obtained at the end of this period.
Nutrition is a very important factor for good health and efficient workout.
Fortunately, in recent years, the information available to the people on what it is and how to achieve a healthy and proper nutrition is clearly greater.
Printed articles in relevant magazines and newspapers, TV and radio shows and a real “storm” of digital texts on the internet are available to public for a better and healthier life.
Nowadays – and with all this “knowledge” on offer (in cases – as the internet – for free) – there is no excuse for mistakes.
The average person now knows (approximately) the nutrients of most foods, their importance in nutrition, as well as their caloric performance, having also full information on the “forbidden” foods and foods of no nutritional value whatsoever, increasing its daily caloric intake.
The fact that people today (young and older) have the basics for a proper and balanced nutrition is a good starting point to move on to a diet tailored to their training needs.
Referring to training needs, we mean primarily the energy needs of the organism, that is, when organizing a diet plan, you need to take into account the resulting energy expenditure.
An organism fasting and therefore “with no fuel” will hardly be able to perform properly in a tough and intense training.
However, energy is not the only factor determining the “training needs” of the organism.
Nutrition should also be in line with the ultimate training goal set.
Depending on the starting point (initial body weight, physical condition, physique, body fat stores, etc.) and the end (ultimate goal of body weight, fitness, body fat or muscle mass) the nutrition should be different.
The most specialized person to adapt a nutrition plan exactly to your needs is a nutritionist (dietitian / nutritionist).
With the use of special measurements and analysis of your health history, he will be able to organize a daily nutrition routine made on your measurements.
Nevertheless, even people of no good financial means to cope with such an expense (quite respectable indeed), can organize a very proper and balanced nutrition plan with information found in expert articles on the internet.
The basis for creating a proper training nutrition is to properly “involve” the rules for a healthy diet, being five (5) and are very important (whether you exercise or not).
It is important to be able to organize your daily caloric intake according to the real needs of your organism, and surely according to the ultimate goal set for the workouts.
At this point, it is immediately obvious that – even if a couple is training using the same exercises and the same training program, the nutrition of each person is different and clearly a “personal matter” for each one of them.
A proper diet plan should come as result of many factors (gender, age, height, and body weight, and fitness, state of health, daily physical activity, intensity / duration / frequency of training).
As important is the quantity of food consumed, so is (and perhaps more) its quality as well.
It is of the utmost importance that a meal – in addition to proper caloric performance – be also nutritious.
EVERY meal should be rich in nutrients, vitamins, good fatty acids, protein and fiber, meaning that EVERY meal should be structured according to the basic rules of healthy nutrition.
An ideal nutrition system to start with is the “Mediterranean Diet”, a model of healthy food consumption according to most top nutritionists around the world.
Proceeding, following the quality and quantity of meals properly organized, it is time to think and set their time slot.
The “big” daily meals and the intermediate snacks will play a decisive role in the effectiveness of the training and in the physical gains obtained at the end of the process, with extreme importance on the snacks used before and after the training
Not only the quality and the amount of each snack, but also a number of snacks never to be selected are significant factors for your training program.
The pre-workout snack is important to provide you with the necessary energy reserves for an intense and demanding physical workout, while the post-workout snack will take care of the “nutrition” of your organism (including the muscles damaged by the workout), the faster muscle recovery and the energy recovery of your organism.
Whereas until recently most people believed that the most effective method of losing weight and body fat is to follow a diet program of specific caloric intake (reduced in caloric number), now experts seem to “break” this old belief.
The new hot proposal of nutritionists is the diet alternation (also known as “Calorie Cycling Diet”).
The alternation of nutrients (i.e. foods forming each of your meals), as well as the “cyclical” alternation of their caloric performance, can help you stay focused on your diet and have significantly greater physical gains.
Experts claim that this system of continuous change of meals (in quality but also in quantity) can help to avoid another major “training obstacle”, what experts call it “Plateau / Weight Plateau”.
As a key component of the human organism – water – is a cornerstone of proper nutrition.
Such a report may sound “unnecessary”, but it is not.
The majority of people (whether they exercise or not) do not consume a sufficient amount of water on a daily basis, resulting to small or sometimes more serious effects on their organic function, beauty and health.
Water is a key element in completing most (nearly all) functions of the human organism.
Nutritionists emphasize the importance of proper hydration, as playing an important role in both the physical and cognitive performance of the individual.
A correct (approximate) amount of water is five (5) glasses / day.
Apart from water, however, you can consume (always in combination with water):
It is also important for the proper hydration of the organism (especially for those sweating or exercising extensively) is the intake of electrolytes.
Electrolytes are nutrients (trace elements) playing a key role in the metabolic function of the organism.
A possible disorder of these trace elements is very likely to lead to organic dysfunction (physical and mental).
The most important electrolytes (which you may receive either via energy and sports drinks or via diet) are:
You may want to lose weight, or you wish to achieve a massive fat loss.
Whichever, in case you exercise, in no case should you skip the meals BEFORE and AFTER training.
To understand the importance of these meals for your organism, it would be good to know how your organism reacts to intense physical activity or physical exercise.
In this way, you will be able to ensure the best athletic performance, but – most importantly – the best health.
A pre-workout snack – initially – should not be large because it will “charge” you, so you will not be able to perform.
Besides, a pre-workout snack should not be “junk”. It is very important – especially before training – to eat something that will be of small size, but high in energy efficiency (beneficial, especially if you are trying to lose weight).
According to experts, the most suitable foods for pre-workout are those combining carbohydrates (for fast energy efficiency) and protein (for long energy efficiency).
As already mentioned, carbohydrates, unlike proteins, provide very fast and large amounts of energy, while on the other hand, need more time to be metabolized by the organism to deliver an energy load.
Carbohydrates (metabolized almost immediately) undertake to “charge” the body with energy from the beginning so that it has strength and explosiveness.
Proteins, unlike carbohydrates metabolizing more slowly, undertake to provide the organism with lasting energy, so increasing endurance.
Nevertheless, the “right” snack before the gym is very important for another reason as well.
The organism does not build muscle only during training, but during the entire day.
Understanding this reality makes it easier to get into the logic of a proper, healthy and balanced meal at any time of the day.
The nutrients received from each of your meals are what will ultimately determine your training benefits.
In addition, muscle rebuilding and muscle recovery takes place 24 hours a day.
Therefore, the right meals help you avoid muscle injuries probably leaving you “out of training”.
What if someone is aiming at losing weight (weight loss)?
Even then, a well-structured meal at the right time, could promote an increased fat loss in the even during the entire day and seven days a week (24/7).
A good time to eat a snack (before training) is about 45 to 60 minutes before the start of the session.
This way you will ensure energy so that you have a good start, as well as a satisfactory duration in your performance.
Certainly, an important condition is, as pointed out, a combination of carbohydrate / protein meal supplemented with good fats.
Never think that a “sports” meal / snack are necessarily boring or tasteless.
In fact, it is everything else.
You can make excellent taste combinations (combinations of your own taste selection) to cover the training needs with delicious taste.
Below, are some examples of “smart” snacks you may adopt in your diet and are ideal for the pro workout time.
Rice wafer is light and digestible, providing immediate energy to the organism. On the other hand, the sesame pulp (tahini) (just 1 tablespoon) ensures:
The sesame pulp (tahini) contributes to the overall good health of the organism, promoting good cardiovascular function.
In addition, it fights diabetes as well as many forms of cancer.
It also fights premature aging of the body, reduces the levels of bad cholesterol and regulates blood pressure.
Toasted bread is a source of carbohydrates for immediate energy, without, on the hand, weighing down the stomach.
The egg provides a huge amount of high quality protein, acting as a “fuel” of slow burning, increasing athletic endurance.
Many describe the egg as a “multivitamin of nature”, not being wrong.
In addition to a large amount of protein (almost 45 – 53%), the egg also offers:
Many do not know it, but the biological and nutritional value of egg protein is much higher even than that of meat or milk. Surely, it is also superior to plant-based protein soy or other plant-based foods.
Whereas in the past the theory prevailed that the egg raises bad cholesterol, now nutritionists dispel this myth and reward the egg with the characterization of the most beneficial food for everyone.
Egg is an excellent superfood and in fact very affordable, as it fights obesity / type 2 diabetes / dementia / hypertension / stroke, ensures a feeling of fullness and promotes weight loss.
In addition, the egg also contains a large amount of antioxidants, corresponding to fruits and vegetables.
These powerful antioxidants prevent injuries and damage to the body, prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease, and prevent the occurrence of vision problems due to aging.
Finally, avocado compliments the meal with a dynamic amount of good fatty acids.
In addition to a large amount of good fats (about 8 grams per avocado), it offers:
considered ideal for the protection of the heart and also for beauty and anti-aging treatment.
It strengthens the immune function of the organism and offers anti-cancer and antioxidant action.
However, avocado is ideal for those exercising for another very important reason, as it helps in the structure and protection of muscles and bones, promoting the weight loss.
Yogurt – as a food product derived from milk – with an exceptional content of high quality animal protein.
In the market you can find a wide variety of yogurts (cow, sheep or goat), but also of different processing and fat content.
It strengthens the immune system, promotes the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, and prevents the occurrence of various forms of cancer, fights hypertension and osteoporosis.
Yogurt is also – according to doctors and nutritionists – an ideal food to strengthen the gastrointestinal tract and protect the intestinal microflora.
Finally, it offers a strong feeling of satiety and promotes weight loss.
Indeed, it is an excellent source of many nutrients. In yogurt – more specifically – you find:
Granola (a mixture of cereals, usually made with oats and honey containing a variety of nuts) is an excellent source of carbohydrates also combining plenty of dietary fiber (for intense feeling of satiety and appetite control), proteins and trace elements as well.
Finally, along with yogurt and granola, you can add any fresh seasonal fruit.
We recommend fresh berries (forest fruits) for the following reasons.
They are an amazing superfood with strong (one of the most powerful) antioxidant action.
The fruits of the forest (berries) are in a large variety, as blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, acai Berries, goji Berries and sea Berries.
Just 80 – 100 grams of berries enable the organism to remove harmful toxins and to achieve hydration, fat burning, suppress appetite, fight cellulite locally and lose weight.
As important as the pre-workout meal is, so is (if not more so) the post-workout meal.
The goal of the post-workout meal is to restore lost energy.
With the right snacks after a hard workout, you can restore the glycogen used by the organism for energy during exercise.
That means carbs.
Besides, very important after a workout, is that your meal contains a sufficient amount of high quality protein, helping to repair damaged muscles and promote muscle rebuilding.
Finally, the intake of electrolytes (specific metals) eliminated from the organism during exercise via sweat is also very important.
Below we see some “smart snacks” for after training to regain strength, boost your muscle gains and to promote rapid muscle recovery.
Crackers are a simple, economical, easy solution (even if you are out) to regain energy.
It is rich in carbohydrates, and in dietary fiber, vitamins (such as B vitamins) and minerals.
Whether made from wheat, oats or rye, it is a perfect choice for a snack to calm the feeling of hunger and provide the body with beneficial energy immediately.
It is good to prefer whole grain crackers (richer in fiber) and with no added sugar.
Therefore, combining the cracker with peanut butter you immediately achieve an “energy bomb” meal.
Nevertheless, it is not only beneficial for the energy provided to the body tired from training.
Peanut butter is an amazing food rich in plant-based protein of the highest quality.
It also offers good cholesterol, Omega3 good fatty acids, vitamins, trace elements (sodium & potassium), as well as plenty of dietary fiber.
Its high content in sodium and potassium makes it ideal for the restoration of electrolytes in the organism after heavy sweating in training.
The same applies to bananas and that is one reason we recommend it for after training.
Many people “fear” the banana for its increased sugars and its slightly higher (compared to other fruits) caloric value, however the banana is an amazing food that you should not ignore.
Just one banana can provide you with almost 15-18% of your organism’s daily needs in dietary fiber.
It acts against constipation, fights dehydration, suppresses appetite and promotes healthy eating and weight loss.
With a huge yield of potassium, banana is a food suitable for people with hypertension, also promoting good brain and mental function, helps the smooth functioning of the CNS (Central Nervous System) and promotes a good psychology.
Besides, bananas- according to research – helps in the metabolism of foods (carbohydrates, proteins and fats), participating in the process of breakdown and homogenization of nutrients.
Like oranges, bananas are a food fighting fluid retention, preventing cellulite.
It causes intense satiety and helps people with difficulty in managing their appetite to follow their diet plan.
Bananas potassium also promotes muscle health, prevents cramps, hydrates the organism and promotes normal blood circulation.
Whole grain pie is a good (and healthy) basis to “build” a hearty and healthy meal.
Provides large amounts of energy instantly, also offering:
Combining a whole grain pie with boiled vegetables (i.e. plenty of fiber); you achieve satiety and a feeling of satisfaction.
Boiled vegetables are low in calories and extremely rich in vitamins and nutrients (varying depending on the vegetables selected to add to your meal).
Adding hummus, you make a complete meal.
Hummus (a paste usually made from chicken, chickpeas, sesame pulp (tahini), lemon juice, garlic, salt and olive oil) combines vegetables with animal protein, enhancing your meal.
It is a great food to add to sandwiches and meals to increase their nutritional value, considered an ideal food for weight loss, lowering cholesterol, preventing cancer, fighting constipation, rejuvenating the body’s electrolytes after training, strengthening muscles and strengthening bones.