It doesn't matter whether it's an intensive workout to build muscle or a short jog in the park: our bodies perform at their best. For this he needs energy, which we best supply in the form of healthy food. But what should we eat and, above all, when? Before? After that? Alongside? Or do you prefer to exercise on an empty stomach? In order to keep track of this confusion, here is the overview!
- You should not eat too much before exercising. Then our body is busy digesting the food and our full potential cannot develop during training.
- After exercise, it is important to quickly replenish the body's energy stores, as these were emptied during the workout.
- It is very important to drink plenty of fluids both before and after exercise. Our body consists of 70% water. If we lose any of it, we should give it back to him quickly.
The inner workings
These three basic rules should always be kept in mind. But that's not all. Fitness in everyday life is only half the battle. If the diet is not right, the sport only brings half as much. Whether it's building muscle, losing weight, or just staying fit and healthy. In order to perform in sports, we need energy. We get them from the so-called macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The energy is obtained in the form of the so-called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and stored as creatine phosphate, glycogen and fat. These are our body's reserves, which it draws on in extreme situations.
The goal of the training
For this reason, it is important to ask yourself what the result of the fitness sessions should be. When it comes to building muscle mass, the focus in nutrition is primarily on Proteins. If the body is to be trained for endurance, Carbohydrates play a slightly larger role. The amount of Fats should be kept as low as possible in all cases. They are digested and converted into energy very slowly. Despite all this, they are healthy and part of a balanced diet. Just in moderation.
Still there? Let's get straight to the point.
Before the training:
When we exercise, we want to feel carefree. There is hardly a nicer feeling than when the fitness units go very easily. What we don't need is a feeling of fullness. Fiber and fats should therefore be avoided shortly before the workout.
Because of this, the perfect time for a balanced meal would be around two to four hours before training.
- Appropriate foods:
Carbohydrates: Whole grains, legumes (chickpeas etc.), quinoa
Proteins: Chicken, fish or tofu
A little fat: Peanut butter, seeds, avocado or nuts
However, it is sometimes a little difficult to plan this so precisely. However, if you want to eat one to two hours before training, you can simply adjust the diet accordingly.
- Appropriate foods:
Carbohydrates: Wholemeal bread, oatmeal, potatoes, fresh fruit (no vegetables, they are very high in fiber and take a long time to digest)
Proteins: Cottage cheese, cream cheese, tuna or boiled eggs
Fats: Some nuts or seeds
However, it is very popular to do a small fitness session right after getting up. To all early risers: Don't worry: That's not a problem at all either. 30 to 60 minutes before training, the body is happy about a small energy boost.
- Appropriate foods:
Carbohydrates: Bananas, grapes or mangoes
Proteins: low-fat quark or milk
Fitness: strength or endurance?
As mentioned above, there are also a few differences in the type of training. If you focus on cardio, you should focus on carbohydrates. These provide energy quickly. Above all, the simple carbs, which are contained in fruit, for example, are digested quickly and boost the metabolism.
On the other hand, if you want to train for strength, you should rely on a slightly different ratio for the pre-workout snack. In addition to carbohydrates, proteins lead to the goal in a ratio of 3:1.
After an extensive sports session, our body feels just like we feel. He is drained, the energy stores are empty and want to be refilled. The macronutrients are suitable for this in a balanced combination with a focus on carbohydrates and proteins. The so-called micronutrients are also helpful. These include vitamins, minerals and trace elements. They allow the body to regenerate.
The post workout 1x1
The fact is: After a workout, our glycogen stores are empty. The body has drawn on our energy reserves in order to perform at its best. So that it works again next time, we have to give something back to him. Multiple carbohydrates are particularly good for this. If you do without them, our body gets energy from the muscle mass during the next effort. And after all, we want to keep it, if only to get up the stairs. In addition, there are the proteins that ensure that damage to the muscle cells is repaired.
Fitness: strength or endurance?
Here, too, the question of the type of training arises: If muscles are to be built up, a direct post-workout snack in the form of a shake with plant milk, almonds or low-fat quark is suitable after the fitness unit. Bananas, potatoes, rice, pasta or vegetables can also be eaten later. On the other hand, if you would rather improve your endurance or lose weight, you should also use lighter carbohydrates such as apples, carrots or quinoa.
Shopping list for post workout meals:
- Sweet potatoes, quinoa, porridge, rice cakes, noodles, rice, fruit
- Eggs, Cream Cheese, Greek Yoghurt, Chicken, Salmon, Tuna,
- Nuts, avocados, nut butter
In fact, food choices aren't really that different from those suitable for pre-workout eating. It all depends on the combination, quantity and timing.
And the micronutrients?
They are easily forgotten, but are at least as important as their big siblings, the macronutrients. It is worth keeping the following overview in mind and including it when choosing food.
|Vitamin K||ensures strong bones||Liver, green vegetables, sauerkraut|
|Vitamin B6||essential for muscle building||Chicken, Beef Tenderloin, Potatoes, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Spinach, Tomatoes, Avocados, Bananas, Peanuts|
|Iron||Main component of our blood, important for oxygen transport||Lentils, flaxseed, soybeans, black currants, carrots, pumpkin seeds|
|Magnesium||controls muscle and nerve cells||Bananas, potatoes, nuts, cereals|
|Calcium||can prevent muscle cramps, strengthens the bones||Dairy products, hazelnuts, kale|
|Potassium||regulates the water balance in the body||Carrots, pumpkin, apricots, bananas, raspberries, honeydew melon, currant, kiwi|
|Zinc||essential for the immune system||red meat, eggs, green vegetables, cheese, whole grains|
What are the myths on the internet all about??
There are many tips on the Internet about when, what and how much we should eat if we want to lose weight. Or build muscle. The focus here is always on optimizing the body. It is important to keep in mind that a balanced diet and fitness primarily lead to our body staying healthy and young. And so do we.
Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with feeling 100% comfortable in your own skin. Sometimes a few pounds less help.
There are a few diet tricks you can use.
There are now dozens of studies on the subject of losing weight. More and more is emerging: The key is above all the calorie deficit at the end of the day. Since our body is a small miracle, it can still burn calories both during and AFTER training.
Ever heard of the afterburn effect??
If the muscles do not get carbohydrates directly after exercise, our body begins to draw new energy from the fat tissue. So just wait another one to two hours until the big meal and use the time window directly after exercise to let your body work on its own. However, it is important to know that the effect occurs above all if an intensive workout has been completed beforehand. The higher the heart rate has been raised, the longer it takes us to get everything back to normal.
Exercise on an empty stomach
With depleted carbohydrate stores, muscles build up a hormone called IL-6 during intense exercise. With the help of this fat can be broken down selectively. The body has no choice but to use fat stores as an energy resource. In addition, we feel much lighter and the sport turns out to be much easier. Since we usually have a completely empty stomach in the morning, the training is then completed and we can start the day freshly showered.
Eat low carb
While it's important to keep replenishing your energy reserves, a low-carbohydrate diet helps when you're trying to lose weight. Sounds stupider than it is. With the low carb toasties and the low carb pizza crusts from Caulito, super delicious recipes can be prepared that can easily be eaten a few hours before the workout or as a meal after exercise. The gluten-free low carb breads are mostly made from cauliflower and are a perfect substitute for normal bread.
Don't forget: drink, drink, drink!
With all the talk about eating right before and after exercise, let's not forget one important thing: our bodies need water. It is important to drink something before and after the fitness program. The recommended amount per day ranges from 1.5 to 3 liters depending on how much we move. After exercise, isotonic drinks or juice spritzers are also suitable for supplying the body with the necessary electrolytes.