It is as important to eat well-balanced meals at appropriate times as it is to exercise for good health. With summer already here in full swing, it is essential to keep yourself hydrated and eat seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Importance Of A Pre-Workout Meal
A good nutritious meal is very important before a workout because it gives you the necessary energy to exercise. The body needs vitamins, minerals, micro nutrients and calories to sustain itself. However, most people do not understand its importance and hence end up minimising the anabolic or muscle building state of their bodies. Proper nutrition before a workout helps to build lean mass by keeping a check on body fat.
The Ideal Food To Eat Before Your Workout During Summers
One should eat medium to fast digesting proteins and slower digesting carbohydrates before a workout to prevent catabolism, build muscle and maintain hormone levels.
Recommended meals before a workout during summers:
• Egg sandwich (egg whites with whole wheat bread)
• Steel cut oats with skim milk
• Dal cheela with green chutney
• Vegetable dalia
• Vegetable sandwich (cucumber tomato lettuce) + 1 glass of buttermilk
• Toast with organic peanut butter + 1 glass cold coffee (skim milk)
• Muesli + Greek yoghurt + chia seeds
FATS should be avoided pre and post workout because they delay the absorption of nutrients in the body unless one is doing a heavy workout for more than 90 minutes at a stretch.
Pre-Workout Meal Timing Is Important
Meal timing should be determined keeping in mind your metabolism, the portion size of the meal and the type of exercise you do. Ideally, one should consume food an hour or two before the workout so that the nutrients are absorbed by the muscles/areas being trained.
If you haven’t eaten anything at a stretch, then quickly grab a banana or some raisins 15 to 20 minutes before your workout.
Nutrition During Workout
One should only drink sufficient amounts of water during the workout. Eating while exercising is not advisable; it would waste the body’s energy on digestion and take away focus from the exercise. During summers, one can have nimbu pani (lemon water) or coconut water to keep their electrolytes in check.
However, during an intense training session, one needs plenty of carbohydrates and amino acids as fuel to reach one’s maximum potential. This is why a pre-workout meal should be eaten at an appropriate time so that one already has essential macro-nutrients in the bloodstream when they start exercising.
If you’re working out for less than an hour, then just water is sufficient to keep you going. However, if the training period is longer, then a protein shake is recommended to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue.
BCCAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are popular drinks during consumed by exercisers during an intense exercise session because they immediately provide the required amino acids and energy and aren’t difficult to digest.
Post-Workout Nutrition Is Important Too
Eating nutritious food after a workout is important for building muscle and halting protein breakdown for better recovery. Eating well elicits an insulin response which stops protein breakdown thereby encouraging its synthesis. Loss of mass is prevented too.
Recommended Foods After A Workout
Nutritious food with fast digesting proteins and simple carbohydrates with high glycemic index should be eaten after a workout to build muscle, stave off soreness and ensure faster recovery. Fats should be avoided.
Post-Workout Protein Shake Is Essential
Liquid nutrients are easily digestible and therefore a protein shake is highly recommended after a workout so that your body’s glycogen levels are replenished quickly and recovery is faster. Whey protein is the best and most commonly recommended protein after a workout session. A banana can be added to it, if required.
The Right Time To Eat A Post-Workout Meal
A post-workout meal should not be later than an hour after the session, even if one has consumed a shake during the exercise. It should include vegetables and other whole foods because our body needs vitamins, proteins, fat, carbohydrates as well as fibre.
Here are a few options of well-balanced post-workout meals during summers:
• Vegetable poha + lemon water
• Ragi or rice idli + mint chutney
• Paneer sandwich + 1 glass vegetable juice (spinach juice)
• Grilled chicken salad + 1 boiled potato
• Fruit smoothie (Greek yoghurt + any seasonal fruit like mango)
• Roti + any summer vegetable (e.g. ghia, torai, bhindi or tinda) + 1 katori dal –This meal can be eaten for lunch or dinner depending on the time of your workout
Quick Tips To Eat Well During The Summers
• Try and avoid salty snacks like chips and namkeen during summers. Instead, opt for freshly made hummus with less oil and some cucumber.
• Mangoes, melon and watermelon can be consumed after the workout as they are seasonal fruits and have a cooling effect. They also provide good carbohydrates for energy replenishment and post-workout recovery.
• Have adequate amount of water during your workout to avoid dehydration. You can also consume other drinks such as fruit juices, bael ka sherbet (wood apple juice), lassi/ buttermilk, aam panna and sugarcane juice after your workout as they are quick sources of energy.