Are you working out consistently but seeing less than optimal results? Maybe your diet is at fault. Many people think that only professional athletes need to tailor their diets specifically to their exercise goals, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. What you eat and when you eat make a big difference.
Eating the right foods at the right time
Nutrition helps to prepare you for your workout and improve your performance. Eating foods high in carbohydrates and low in fat prior to working out can make you feel better during your workout. Eating larger amounts of carbohydrates in the days before an event can help to improve endurance. If you’re looking to build muscle more protein is necessary.
It’s not just what you eat that’s important; timing also plays a key role. For example, eating too much before exercising can lead to cramps, upset stomach or even diarrhea. This is because the digestive system and muscles would be competing for energy. On the other hand, eating too little can lead to low blood sugar levels and weakness.
Exactly what and how you eat will depend on your specific goals but generally speaking, starting the day with a meal high in complex carbohydrates is recommended. Exercise can follow an hour or two later. When you’ve eaten a large meal, you shouldn’t exercise until about three or four hours later. Small snacks are generally okay immediately before and during your workout. Eating meals high in protein and carbohydrates after exercise can help to boost the repair of muscles.
Water and vitamins
It’s important not to forget the importance of water in your diet. No matter your particular fitness goals, staying hydrated is necessary. Even seemingly gentle exercise can cause you to lose fluids through sweating. You, therefore, need to drink lots of water before and after exercise to ensure you are getting the most from your workout. Even when you aren’t exercising you should drink water frequently to ensure you don’t become dehydrated. This is especially important if you live in a warm climate or it’s summer.
You may not be getting all the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet, especially if you’re training for a particular event or goal. A lack of the necessary nutrients can affect your ability to workout properly. That’s where nutritional supplements come in. Multivitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids can help improve your nutrition.
You may also want to take a gym pre workout supplement. Some contain ingredients which improve endurance while others increase strength. Common ingredients are creatine which increases muscle strength, caffeine which helps you feel more alert and increases output and beta-alanine which fights muscle fatigue. Citrulline, sodium bicarbonate and nitrate are also popular. You can purchase these supplements or combine ingredients and make your own.
The bottom line is that if you want your workout to be as effective as possible, you need to pay attention to what you eat and drink. Meals can either hamper or help your exercise regime so you need to ensure that all your hard work is paying off.