Eating and exercising are strongly linked: the time of day in which to eat and the diet to follow are two fundamental aspects to be taken into account for your training plan, whether it is an occasional workout or training for a competition . Follow our tips to balance the food to be taken with the right exercise.
Start with a healthy breakfast
If you choose to train in the morning, you should get up in time to have a full breakfast, to be concluded at least an hour before training. You should eat or drink carbohydrates before exercise, in order to improve performance during training, which may last longer or with higher intensity. The biggest mistake, however, is not to eat before the workout: you may feel slow or light when you train or find yourself without “petrol” after a short time. If, on the other hand, you plan to train at least an hour after breakfast, do not put too much load on yourself, stay light with a little carbohydrates and maybe have a sports drink. Here is a good mix of foods for your breakfast: whole grains or bread, low-fat milk, fruit juice, banana, yogurt, pancake.
Beware of portion sizes!
Don’t go overboard with food before exercise! Here are some general tips for you: for large meals, at least three or four hours before training; for a small snack, 1 to 3 hours before training. In practice, eating too much will slow you down, eating too little does not provide the energy you need.
Eating small snacks just before and during exercise is a good thing; they probably won’t give you much energy for an hour’s training, but they will keep hunger pangs at bay for long enough. On the other hand, if the workout lasts more than an hour, it would be better to eat more calories, including carbohydrate-rich foods or drinks. Here are some ideas: energy bar, banana or apple or other fresh fruit, yogurt, fruit smoothies, wholemeal bagels or crackers, peanut butter sandwich, sports drink.
Always eat after training
To help your muscles recover and replace their glycogen stores, if possible, eat a meal with carbohydrates and proteins within two hours of the end of the workout. Here are some optimal foods: yogurt or fruit, peanut butter sandwich, low-fat milk chocolate and pretzels, smoothie for post-workout recovery, turkey on wholemeal bread with vegetables.
Always drink adequate fluids before, during and after exercise to support you and prevent dehydration.
American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you drink about 2-3 cups (473 to 710 mil.) of water in the 2-3 hours before training; about 1 cup (118 to 237 mil.) of water every 15-20 minutes during training; finally, about 2 or 3 cups (from 473 to 710 mil.) of water after training for every pound (0.5 kilograms) of weight lost during training. Water is generally the best way to replace lost fluids. But if your workouts last more than an hour, use a sports drink, better to maintain the electrolyte balance of your body and give yourself a little more energy because they contain carbohydrates.