As the Nutritionist and Health Coach for Movers & Shapers (experts in group Personal Training), I get a lot of clients asking me about the best foods to maximise their workouts.
So here are my top 5 tips, and recipes to get your started!
1. Start your day right (with protein and healthy fats)
Having fasted through the night your body needs a good dose of nutrients to get it going for the day.
If you’re tackling a session first thing, try a banana with a tbsp of peanut or almond butter, cottage cheese on an oat or rice cake, or this home made Crunchy Nut Granola. Eggs are also a great option if your workout is later in the morning or at lunchtime, so try making a batch of these Easy Egg Muffins.
2. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water before your workout is key (as well as during and after your sweat fest). Sip water as you’re getting your gym kit on, or enjoy this Hydrating Green Smoothie as your pre-workout snack.
Water regulates your body temperature, keeps your joints lubricated and helps move nutrients into your bloodstream so you have the energy you need to exercise.
3. Don't be afraid of carbs!
The recent craze of Atkins and Paleo diets have scare mongered many people into thinking they should avoid carbs. But this is far from the truth, especially if you're a fitness fanatic. Carbohydrates give you the energy you need to work out longer and harder, helping you build muscle and recover well.
1.5 hours before your workout, eat a serving of brown rice, porridge oats or quinoa. Try making a batch of these Simple Sweet Potato Chips at the start of the week and taking them to work with you so they're ready when you need them, just before your workout.
4. Your muscles love protein
Whether you feed them with a protein ball, nut bar, Greek yogurt, or a meal including some lean protein like chicken or fish, or plant based options like quinoa, tofu or peas, combining carbs and protein 1-2 hours before your workout can help you feel fueled and could help reduce muscle soreness.
Rice cakes with peanut or almond butter are a simple pre-workout snack that does just that, or why not try these super scrumptious Almond, Date & Coconut Protein Balls.
5. Left it too late?
Not able to eat in the morning or left it to the last minute to fuel your workout? Don’t skip it completely - opt for a low cal sports drink (or one of these homemade versions), coconut water, some raisins or a slice of wholemeal bread for some quick, easily digestible simple sugars.