As you increase your workouts, it’s important to bear in mind that your nutritional needs also shift. Similarly, to how we must fill up a car’s gas tank as the engine uses fuel, after exercising we have to ensure our energy reserves are replenished too.
Contrary to popular belief, your body does not solely rely on fat stores when you lack energy from food. Ashley Reaver, who is a registered dietitian and nutrition educator at the University of California, Berkeley advises that “In order to get energy for your workout, you really need to make sure you’re focusing on carbohydrates.” It is important to choose healthy sources of carbohydrates in order to serve as fuel for an effective workout regime.
To ensure our muscles are used for their intended purpose, we must consume enough energy – primarily from carbohydrates. During strenuous exercise, the muscle can be broken down to create glucose – the primary fuel source for our muscles. Fat cannot replace this essential process.
To maximize the effects of your workout and ensure you have enough energy to get out there again, here are five of the top foods to fuel your exercise.
Bananas are a great pre-or post-exercise snack as they contain natural sugars and will help replenish energy levels without needing to be digested for too long. Paired with some yogurt, bananas can make for an ideal recovery snack after exercise.
2. Brown Rice
Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate which means it takes longer for the body to digest and break down. This provides sustained energy which lasts longer than simple carbohydrates such as processed sugars or white bread or pasta.
3. Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein, fiber, and essential minerals that promote muscle health while helping to restore lost electrolytes during exercises such as calcium and magnesium.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great source of energy as they contain complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. This combination makes them an ideal pre-workout snack as the secure energy release will provide you with sustained fuel for your workout session.
5. Whole Grains
Whole grains such as quinoa or oats are quick to digest and slow to absorb which is why they are so effective when it comes to exercising. The carbohydrates found in whole grains can help refuel your muscles after a workout session while also providing plenty of fiber – aiding digestion and keeping you satiated for longer.
To get the most out of our workouts, nutrition is key – this means avoiding processed foods and opting for natural, healthy alternatives. All of the above options are excellent choices when it comes to fuelling our bodies with the energy reserves they need to be able to exercise effectively.
With an adequate diet in place, matching your workouts with the right food sources can help you achieve enhanced performance, and post-exercise recovery and even reduce any potential injury risks due to fatigue or dehydration.