Contributed by Anne-Josie Roy, Nutritionnist & Fitness Coach
Incorporating physical activity into our lifestyle has numerous health benefits that go way beyond weight management! They include better sleep, increased energy level, stronger immune system, healthier stress management, and many more.
However, when it comes to allowing your body to perform well or to recover from an intense workout, your diet can make all the difference.
Before working out, you have to give your body a great source of energy to get the most out of it.
Indeed, research shows that you can enhance your athletic performance by eating a good source of carbohydrates. - Therefore, try to incorporate them in your diet as a snack or as a meal a few hours before working out.
Excellent sources of carbohydrates can be : a piece of fruit, a homemade muffin, fruit yogurt, or a soy beverage. They're easy to digest and full of essential nutrients, which act as fuel when you move your body. Make sure you consume foods to which you are not intolerant.
If you have more than one hour before your workout session, the perfect combination is a food that supports your appetite (rich in protein), and that gives you energy (carbohydrates).
For example, if you work out around 5:30 pm, you can prepare a healthy snack around 3:30 or 4:00.
Here are some examples:
A well-balanced meal can definetly bring you the energy you need to enjoy your workout!
It should include whole grains (whole wheat bread, oats, quinoa, etc.), fruits or vegetables, a good source of protein (yogourt, eggs, lean meat, tofu, etc.) and a little or no fats since they take longer to digest (avoid sauces, mayonnaise, high oil-content meals, cream, cheese, etc).
To maximize your recovery, think proteins! They play an important role in muscle recovery, which is why they are super important after a workout.
You can simply ask yourself if you intend to eat a full meal soon after finishing your workout.
If you take your breakfast, lunch, or diner right away, you don't need to think too much - a healthy balanced meal in the hour following the workout can meet all of our nutrient needs for recovery.
However if your next meal is scheduled over an hour after working out, you can simply have a high-protein snack (between 10 and 20g) in the 30 minutes following the workout.
Also, once the training is over, we must remember that we used our energy stores to get into action and perform. It is therefore necessary to replenish them with carbohydrates in order to optimize recovery.
Depending on what you eat after training, make sure to include them in the planned meal or through a healthy snack if our meal is scheduled for later. Fruits or whole grain foods (oats, quinoa, whole wheat bread, etc.) are ideal!
Post-workout meal and snack ideas
A bowl of whole-grain cereal with a handful of blueberries, soy beverage, and crumbled walnuts
Overnight Oats: oats, raspberries (or other fruits), a few spoons of nuts\seeds of your choice, a little yogurt and a plant-based drink.
Nourish bowl made with quinoa, tempeh or tofu, lots of veggies and fruit for dessert. (Don't forget a large glass of water to rehydrate yourself after exercise!)
Turkey sandwich with whole wheat bread and a side of vegetables
Healthy oatmeal cookie or muffin (preferably homemade!) with berries and a handful of almonds.
Following these little suggestions before and after your workout will make a huge difference in the results you get!
Of course, each person is different - optimal nutrition can vary depending on your taste and lifestyle. Consulting a dietitian to establish a custom meal plan can be great if you want to take this a step futher!
I hope this inspires you to take action to achieve all of your goals. Of course, if you have any questions or comments, you can find me on my website www.annejosie.com, on Instagram (@annejosie) or on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/annejosie) and it will be my pleasure to connect with you.
Cheers to your health,
Anne-Josie Roy Dt.P Professional Dietitian and Sports Coach certified in personal training