Best foods to support workouts

Best foods to support workouts

If the new year has encouraged you to start working out, then these tips and tricks will help you make the most out of your fitness journey. 


With average monthly searches for 'what to eat before a workout' up 79% this month and 'what to eat after a workout' up 23%, Australia is looking for guidance on the best foods to support their workouts


With this in mind, Hannah Gilbert, Director of Culinary Innovation & Operations at meal delivery service, YouFoodz has provided some useful insight into what food we should be having before and after our workouts to make the most of it.


For foods to eat before a workout, Hannah, who studied exercise, sports science and nutrition at University of Sydney, said the following:


"Eating before exercise is key to an effective workout, think of it like you're fueling up a car so that it's ready to go. Eating at least two hours before exercise can help build your energy and burn more calories. You should eat healthy carbohydrates that are high in fibre as these slowly release energy and lean protein, perfect for a workout. 


"These foods can include whole grain cereal, whole wheat toast, whole grain pasta, brown rice, low fat or fat free yoghurt, fruits and vegetables. You should avoid saturated fats and most healthy proteins as these take longer to digest, taking away oxygen and blood from your muscles.


"The most important thing is to remember to drink plenty of fluids ahead of your workout. This will prevent you from getting dehydrated during your exercise."


Once you've done your workout it's just as important to get the right amount of protein and carbs to help build your energy back up, Hannah advises:


"It's recommended to eat a nutritious, high protein meal or snack within an hour after exercise. Eating after exercise helps your muscles recover and replaces their glycogen stores which is especially important if you're just getting used to working out


"If you're not going to eat a meal after your workout then definitely consider a snack like bananas, apple with peanut butter and energy bars.


"Again, a meal or snack with healthy carbohydrates and protein is beneficial at this point, just like those already mentioned, but also high protein foods like chicken, avocado and eggs. To help with blood sugar and build up energy, try a sports drink or diluted juice."


"One way to make sure you get all of the carbs and protein you need to help your fitness goals and support your exercise routine is to begin meal planning. This requires you to plan and cook a batch of a certain recipe so that you can have it over the next few days. This is great if you need an easy lunch to reheat in the office, or looking for a breakfast that is already made in the morning.


"A lot of recipes can be batch made and planned ahead, including chicken and rice, pasta, overnight oats, and more, but if you're looking for inspiration I recommend trying the YouFoodz ready made meals, which are perfect for meal planning as they're already prepped and ready for you to heat up," says Hannah.


For more tips and recipe inspiration to support your fitness journey, read the YouFoodz guide to what to eat before and after your workout.


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