What to have before and after workout

By: Ms. Reema Bhatia (Nutritionist) 

Not many people are aware of what they should eat after working out. It is extremely important to eat right – at the right time – after exercising. One should eat the perfect ratio of proteins, carbohydrates and fat at each meal and snack to control the complex hormonal systems and thus reach their goal. Carbohydrates are the major fuel for short exercises. A significant carbohydrate supply before and during exercise ensures optimum work performances. A carbohydrate rich meal 2-3 hours prior to an exercise ensures filling the labile glycogen store.

A diet should include complex carbohydrates like cereals, potatoes, etc. rather than simple sugars before and after the exercise. Even a healthy serving of fruits and nuts (1/4 th of a cup) will help to replace glycogen stores after the workout for those who don’t have the time or access to healthy meals after exercising. Some people believe that they shouldn’t eat after a workout, but eating proteins in a form of milk and milk products, chicken and fish and carbohydrates after exercising preferably within 45 minutes  or maximum an hour ensures maximum absorption of nutrients. The glycogen, an energy reserve in your muscles, is replaced more efficiently. This also makes your metabolism burn fat faster and more efficiently.

Eating more fat, especially saturated fat, can increase a person’s risk for heart disease. The goal is to increase the availability of fat as a fuel during exercise which is done by training, not by consuming a high fat diet. The body also loses a lot of water during the workout or any other kind of exercises for an hour or more. This may lead  to dehydration. To replenish the fluid loss, one can have ready-made drinks that contain electrolytes. Some energy/sports drinks also contain a reasonable amount of proteins as well as carbohydrates. They are found to be useful after strenuous bodybuilding exercises.

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