Exercising is more than just the exercises you do and the brands of shoes you wear. Holistic health means paying attention to everything, especially your nutrition.
Getting the most out of your exercise depends also on how you fuel your body. When you fuel your body with the right foods before and after, it will help your body to continue burning fats and building muscles, so that you achieve your goal faster.
Some people slack off, some are just unsure about which foods are best, and some—like you—care enough to do the research. You can’t be afraid of nutrition and calories, you’ve just got to use them properly.
Juicing For Strength
During a workout, your body loses a considerable amount of fluid that needs to be replenished. Proper nutrition will give you the energy and fluid your body needs, as well as boost your endurance and recovery.
So which foods do you eat? And when do you eat them? The information is out there and I’ve done the research and compiled it here. So follow these rules to see how you can improve your nutrition and, in turn, your workout results.
Before You Exercise
Eating before working out prevents low blood sugar which can pull you out of the zone. If you experience hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) you’ll get lightheaded and fatigued, feel weak or shaky, and want to stop exercising.
Registered dietitian Isabel K. Smith says to keep it simple: eat something that is low in fat but that contains fiber and protein. These take longer to breakdown and will keep you going. The fiber (and water) will also ease digestion so you avoid stomach aches.
Smith suggests a pre-workout banana—they are a great dose of potassium, which maintain nerve and muscle function. Adding a half-cup of Greek yogurt (plain/ low sugar) gives you a boost of protein.
Apples and grapes are other good pre-workout fruits as they provide you with an antioxidant called quercetin, which helps boost your endurance by making your lungs more receptive to oxygen, and allowing you to breathe easily. Beetroot is another food that is good for helping with sustained stamina and energy.
Oatmeal, fruits and nuts, a turkey sandwich, cottage cheese and fruit, or a whole grain toast and peanut butter are other recommended ways to start the day or start your workout. This comes from the American College Of Sports Medicine. Eating something that is low in fats but has protein and carbohydrates will help sustain a healthy workout.
Try this juice before your workout:
2 green apples
8 ribs of celery
8-10 leaves of kale OR a bunch of spinach
a bunch of cilantro
thumb-sized ginger (optional)
A few leaves of mint
While You Exercise
When you exercise, you lose water through sweat and through your breath. Staying hydrated is important because dehydration can cause cramps, dizziness, and thirst.
Being hydrated means your heart won’t need to work as hard to support your body. More than that, water facilitates transporting much-needed oxygen and nutrients your muscles during exercise.
Experts recommend drinking at least 15-20 ounces of water one or two hours before your workout, 8-10 ounces prior to working out, and 8 oz for every 15 minutes during your workout. If you’re an endurance athlete, Smith advises drinking something with carbohydrates and electrolytes, like coconut water.
After You Exercise
Again, Smith suggests carbohydrates and protein, especially if strength training was part of your workout. If a meal follows your workout there’s no need to snack, but if you’re reaching for a snack, try for 20-25 grams of protein, says Smith.
Cherry juice will help recovery after strenuous exercise by reducing inflammation, shows one study. Another study recommends caffeine for endurance athletes who perform daily. After your workout your body will be looking for protein to repair the muscles you’ve been using.
Raw, organic dairy products (milk, yogurt) have a good mix of carbohydrates and protein, that your body wants post-workout. Grilled chicken and mixed veggies or salmon and sweet potato are great post-workout meals.
Try this juice after your workout to rehydrate and replenish your electrolytes.
6-8 ribs of celery
a handful of mint leaves
1-inch ginger root