5 Ways to Get Back in Shape With Foods, Pre-workout and Post-workout Nutrition

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“Food is not just calories, it is information. It talks to your DNA and tells it what to do. The most powerful tool to change your health, environment and entire world is your fork.”- Dr. Mark Hyman
 
You are what you eat. And it’s true.
 
The food you eat is the reason that some days you feel like a cream-filled Twinkie and other days, like lean cut beef. Just eating healthy is not enough, but eating smart to feed your fitness goals is essential. To get thunderous arms, rock-hard abs or a perfect body shape, you need to choose wisely what goes into your mouth. So, you ought to build your diet around the most potent, disease-fighting, muscle-growing, and nutrient-rich foods.

Here are the top 5 fitness foods that you should eat to get back in shape:

Milk

Milk is a great product to boost your activity levels along with providing muscle-healing protein, hydrating water, bone-healthy calcium, and refuelling sugar. Its slow-digesting protein “casein” can boost sleep-inducing serotonin and melatonin. Milk has fitness benefits too. It’s an age-old favourite for endurance athletes if taken with chocolate. To some, it might sound unhealthy, but consuming chocolate milk after your workout gives you proteins to repair your muscles and carbs to provide you with energy.

Broccoli

With a whole army of minerals & vitamins, digestion-promoting fibre, and free-radical-busting antioxidants, Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-rich foods that you’ll find in the supermarket, along with kale, spinach, and green cabbage. These foods are a great source of folate, which is a natural-occurring folic acid. Folate is believed to keep your heart healthy and also suitable for women who are hoping to conceive. When we talk about bone-building calcium, plant-based foods are the best alternative you can get. If you are doing endurance sports, your calcium level needs to be well maintained- NHS recommends 700mg per day- for adults.

Dried Fruits

Dried fruits like apricots, raisins, and mango are a great source of carbohydrate and are also consumed as energy boosters. With every mouthful of dried fruits, you get vitamins, potassium, fibre, minerals, and phytonutrients. During long races, you need a high amount of energy and these dried fruits power up your body with high GI carbs to give you energy. One serving taken before the run, and 2-3 servings during the run with a gap of 1 hour, dried fruits can give you best results. It is recommended to consume dried fruits during your training sessions rather than the day of your final race.

Bananas

Bananas are a nutrient-rich perfect fitness food which is readily available everywhere. Bananas are rich in potassium, eye-protecting lutein, and mood-boosting serotonin too. You get calories mainly from carbohydrates, and bananas give you slightly higher energy than other fruits, which helps you in refuelling the body before, during, or after the workout. With the presence of potassium, bananas help prevent cramps in the body during exercise.

Blueberries

With the presence of free-radical-beating antioxidants, Blueberries earned their status of being a “‘superfood'' a few years ago. Free radicals cause a lot of disturbances like damaging your cells, causing diseases, or setting off signs of premature ageing when they travel around your body. Blueberries can be consumed in both dried or fresh fruit form, and they are even lower in calories than other fruits. Frozen blueberries, when whizzed in a smoothie, helps to restore your muscles’ glycogen when taken after a workout.

Fitness enthusiasts and athletes are always looking for ways to enhance their performance. Hence, they focus on proper nutrition that can help their body to perform better, achieve their goals, and recover faster after every exercise session. This is why pre-workout nutrition is vital because it will decide how well you can perform in your workout, with little or no muscle damage. Here are the tips you need to know about your pre-workout nutrition:

Know what to eat

You need to fuel your body with the right nutrients to help it perform better during a workout session. Macronutrients play a crucial role before a workout. However, the ratio in which you need to consume those macronutrients may vary according to the kind of exercise you perform.

Timing of your pre-workout meal

The timing of your meal before your workout is equally important. Your pre-workout meal should contain a blend of carbs, proteins, and fats, to be consumed 2-3 hours before the workout. If you happen to take your pre-workout meals 45-60 minutes before the workout, then you need to choose meals that are easily digestible and mainly consist of carbs & protein. This will prevent any kind of discomfort in your stomach during the workout.

Importance of hydration

Your body needs sufficient amounts of water to function appropriately and to hydrate your body before any workout helps in enhancing your performance - experts recommend fitness enthusiasts consume water and sodium before exercise. Both these elements help in retaining and improving the fluid balance in your body.

Just as your pre-workout meal is essential, your post-workout meal plays equal importance too. Your post-workout meal will stimulate protein synthesis in your body, improve your recovery time, and enhance your performance to get you ready for the next day’s workout. Here are the tips you need to know about your post-workout nutrition:

1. Foods to eat after your workout

The primary goal of a post-workout diet is to provide your body with a fair quantity of the right nutrients to enable recovery and maximise the benefits of your workout. Following is a list of foods that are easily digestible and to be taken after your exercise:

2. Timing of your post-workout meal

When you exercise, your body's ability to rebuild glycogen and protein enhances. This is why we recommend you consume proteins and carbs as soon as you finish with your exercise. The timing need not be exact, but many health experts advise you to consume your post-workout meals within 45 minutes of your training.

3. Drink plenty of water

You sweat a lot during exercise, and an amount of water and electrolytes are lost from the body in the form of sweat. When you consume sufficient amounts of water after your exercise, it is likely to maintain the internal environment of your body to maximise the results of your workout. It is essential to restore your body with fluids that will make it ready for your next workout session.

A high-protein diet for weight loss: Macronutrient

Macronutrients are nutrients that are responsible for providing our body with energy and are of three types- proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Protein is a crucial macronutrient for maintaining good health and must be consumed daily to meet your body’s requirements. Proteins are also consumed for weight loss and achieving other health benefits.

Below are some points that will explain how proteins help you lose weight naturally:

1. Eating more protein may restrain you from eating now and then because protein intake suppresses your hunger and appetite for hours. The increase in the production of hormones like GLP-1 and PYY give you a feeling of fullness and hunger satisfaction. Hence, you naturally reduce your food intake after consuming a high-protein diet, which in return also increases your metabolic rate during digestion.

2. Higher protein intake intensifies the burning of calories in your body. Protein digestion helps in boosting your metabolic rate by 20-35%. Several studies have also proved that you burn more calories after eating a high protein diet. At times when you reduce your calorie intake, your metabolism slows down; partially due to muscle loss. Some researchers suggest that consuming protein can help prevent your muscle loss, hence keep your metabolic rate high..

3. Another fantastic fact about including proteins in your diet for weight loss is that it reduces your late-night cravings for snacks. Many people have been struggling to lose weight and have shared a problem of craving for snacks in the evening or late at night. These snacks do no good for your health but add up to the calories you've consumed during the whole day.

4. Higher protein intake is also correlated with less belly fat. This fat is harmful to your body as it builds up around your organs and causes diseases like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. Many people follow a weight loss regime, lose weight for some time, but end up regaining weight. This usually happens when the right amount of protein intake is not included in their diet plan.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that calories still count. Proteins can help you reduce your hunger, but your weight still depends upon the amount of calories you consume. If you eat a lot of junk food and take a high protein diet, you will always end up gaining weight rather than losing it.

Bonus

Generally, the recommended daily calorie intake for women is 2,000 calories per day and for men it is 2,500 calories per day.

Daily reference intakes

  • Energy: 8400 kJ/ 2000 kcal
  • Total Fat: <70g
  • Saturates: <20g
  • Carbohydrate: At Least 260g
  • Total Sugars: 90g
  • Protein: 50g
  • Salt: <6g
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