What you eat before and after a workout is important if you want to get the most out of a workout.
First and foremost, you do not want to run out of energy and become tired and rundown during a workout. You are more vulnerable to injury. You want to be full of energy for your entire workout.
The type of workout you do should influence your food intake. In general, carbohydrates fill your glycogen stores and are best for shorter, high-intensity workouts. Moderate exercisers do not have the same carbohydrate needs as a competitive athlete. If you are eating consistently and your diet regularly contains 50% to 60% of carbohydrates, you should have plenty of energy for your workouts.
Protein is used for muscle repair and growth. How much protein you need depends on your size, your goals, and the type of exercise you are doing. If you are weight training and wanting to add lean mass, you will need to eat more protein than if you are walking or running. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends people consume 15 to 20 percent of their daily calories from protein.
Fats are the source of fuel for longer, low-to-moderate workouts. Fats are regularly found in the foods you eat, and you do not have to go out of your way to eat fat. Healthy foods containing fat are avocados, cheese, whole eggs, and fatty fish.
A lot will depend on when you work out. If you have less than an hour before a workout eat a snack. Working out early in the morning usually means you only have time for a snack and not a full breakfast. Sometimes you are busy before a workout and do not have time for a meal. Have a snack instead.
Good carbs for snacks are a piece of toast, a bowl of oatmeal, an apple or banana, or an energy bar. Good protein for snacks that are easy to digest are a hard-boiled egg, a slice of turkey, a cup of yogurt or a glass of milk.
If you work out later in the morning or in the afternoon or evening you have time for meals. Have a balanced meal 2 to 3 hours before a workout. Some complex carbs to eat are brown rice, whole wheat bread, quinoa, and potatoes. Good lean proteins to eat are fish, chicken, beans, and tofu.
Always drink a lot of water and be well hydrated before and after a workout. Working out makes you sweat and you want to replenish the lost fluids. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests that you start drinking fluids at least four hours before your workout.