When it comes to working out, food impacts upon your performance in different ways, and we all want to get the most from our hard work. We present you with seven foods that enhance your performance to make your workout worthwhile.
Easily digestible fruit
Fruit is nature's answer to a healthy sugar high, and it provides carbohydrates to boost your energy levels. Fresh fruit such as bananas and apples are loaded with vitamin C, antioxidants, and fibre, making this a fantastic way to give you a natural boost of energy before your workout. Make sure you opt for easily digestible fruit as those that are hard to digest - such as those from the citrus family - could hinder your exercise by causing stomach cramps.
Greek yoghurt is a great pre-workout treat as it contains twice the protein than normal yoghurt and provides you with good carbs, which are beneficial for exercise energy requirements. The combination of protein and carbohydrates in yoghurt are also great for muscle growth. Add in a few of your favourite tasty berries for extra nutrition and a natural energy boost.
Bran cereals are a winning choice when it comes to enhancing physical performance. They are high in fibre and the betaine chemical found in bran foods enhances your physical performance and boosts your metabolic rate. Bran also helps with cell function and prevents dehydration during exercise. For a healthy, pre-exercise breakfast, fuel your body with bran flakes topped with fruit to get half your recommended daily serving of fruit and whole grain before you've even had chance to change out of your pyjamas.
For up to one hour after exercise, your body will be craving the nutrients it has lost, so this is the most important time to replenish your body and re-build your depleted muscles. Eating protein such as chicken, eggs or fish will provide your muscles with amino acids that help them to grow back stronger and bigger, so it's essential that you're consuming protein-rich foods to enhance the effects of your workout.
Liquid meals such as smoothies and nutrient-rich shakes allow you to get all the essential post-exercise nutrients in just a few gulps, making this the perfect way to provide your body with essential nutrients in the one hour post-exercise recovery period. Most people find the thought of a big meal daunting after exercise, so topping up on essential muscle-repairing nutrients in liquid form is a quick and easy way for your body to access these useful nutrients. Plus, the faster these nutrients enter your body the more successful you will be in building muscle and recovering from your workout.
Oats are your best friend when it comes to prepping your muscles for a workout, as they provide glucose to fuel your muscles. Oats are also a great choice for losing weight, as they encourage the body to burn fat quicker in order to fuel your muscles. Try oatmeal pancakes around three hours before exercise for a tasty treat that is sure to enhance the effects of your workout by slowly releasing sugar, ultimately keeping energy levels on an even keel during your workout.
Nibbling on trail mix is an excellent way to top up on the minerals lost during exercise. Indeed, a well-prepared trail mix includes a well-rounded mix of nutrients that are essential for maintaining optimum energy levels throughout your workout. Trail mix provides protein too, which is essential for building muscles and prolonging optimum energy levels so this is the perfect go-to snack before, during, and after your exercise.
What to eat before, during and after exercise