healthy foods on table with measuring tape

How to Maintain a Workout-Conscious Diet

Whether you are attempting to implement a new, healthy lifestyle or maintain gains from a recent fitness kick, proper diet is as important as stretching. Without a properly regulated (and sustained) diet, it’s impossible to maintain these bodily benefits. However, proper diet does not mean all vegetables and no fats. The perfect diet is the subject of much discussion, with several competing theories as to what humans should eat, and when. As far as Lake Shore Physical Therapy is concerned, though, nutritional balance is key. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how people should structure their diet to gain the right nutrients.

The Right Pre-Workout Nutrition

When you are trying to build muscle and improve your body, adopting the right nutritional habits is essential. Paying attention to what you eat before, during and after working out will help your body to benefit the most.

person counting calories in notebook

3 Foods to Avoid Before Exercise

#1 Unhealthy fats:

After eating large portions of fatty or processed foods, people tend to feel sluggish. This lack of energy and motivation to engage in physical activity is detrimental to a fulfilling and beneficial workout. So, eating fast food prior to a workout will leave your body and mind unwilling to properly exercise.

#2 Foods with high fiber content:

Eating foods with a high fiber content is one of the cornerstones of a healthy diet. However, you should avoid eating too much fiber directly before working out. Instead, eat these high fiber foods either well before your workout, or after.

#3 Sugary foods:

Although you may perceive a boost in energy after eating sugary foods like candy or pastries, chocolate is less than ideal for a pre-workout snack. When your body digests sugary foods, your blood sugar drops. Instead, consume healthy sugars like fruit or yogurt about an hour or before.

 

3 Foods to Eat Before Exercise

#1 Carbs:

The human body utilizes carbohydrates as the primary source of energy for exercising. Eating the appropriate amount of carbs (based on your muscle mass and workout) will also aid in preventing lifting and sports injuries, as well as fatigue.

It is, however, important to be careful about what kind of carbohydrates you consume. French fries and bagels are high in carbs, but also in fat. So, they are not ideal for pre-workout food.

Instead, eat healthy, wholesome carbs. Whole wheat, whole grains, sweet potatoes and brown rice are all great choices.

woman eating avocado in bed

#2 Healthy Fats:

Like carbohydrates, healthy fats play a significant role in your pre-workout diet by providing much-needed energy.

Many healthy foods contain healthy fats. For example, salmon, nuts, vegetable oils and avocados are all go-to sources of healthy fats. Additionally, Omega 3 and Omega 6 have anti-inflammatory effects, which reduce swelling. Finally, they are crucial in bringing your body back to a balanced state following a workout.

Watch out for saturated fats, which are included in whole milk, butter, high-fat cheese, and other animal products. A physical therapist at Lake Shore Physical Therapy can help you to better understand which fats are healthy, and which are harmful.

#3 Protein:

Protein plays an integral role in preparing the body for a workout. It is instrumental in building and repairing the muscles during endurance exercises. Lean protein like chicken and turkey are better than red meat, which has a higher saturated fat content.

People attempting to gain muscle mass often turn to protein powder because it is a quick and easy way to ingest it. Soy protein is ideal for helping people to accumulate protein before a workout. Whey protein is best for recovering from an intense workout, and enhancing the function of the immune system.

 

3 Lifestyle Tips

#1 Stay Hydrated:

At Lake Shore Physical Therapy, we cannot understate the importance of proper hydration– especially before and during exercise. Being dehydrated during a workout means that your body will lose a disproportionate amount of fluids. But, proper hydration doesn’t necessarily mean drinking water. Many fruits and vegetables contain plenty of water, so you can hydrate while gaining other nutrients.

#2 When to Eat:

Regardless of the nutrients present, you should never eat directly before a workout. When you eat immediately prior to exercising, your digestive system is attempting to process food while your muscles are expanding. Consequently, your body cannot reap the full benefits of the exercise.

Additionally, eating before a workout may cause gastrointestinal discomfort while you are exercising. This can be quite distracting during the workout, sometimes shortening workouts.

To ensure that your body has the appropriate amount of time to digest all of your food and benefit from the nutrients, eat the right foods 1-2 hours before exercising.

Regardless of the nutrients present, you should never eat directly before a workout. When you eat immediately prior to exercising, your digestive system is attempting to process food while your muscles are expanding. Consequently, your body cannot reap the full benefits of the exercise.

Additionally, eating before a workout may cause gastrointestinal discomfort while you are exercising. This can be quite distracting during the workout, sometimes shortening workouts.

To ensure that your body has the appropriate amount of time to digest all of your food and benefit from the nutrients, eat the right foods 1-2 hours before exercising.

#3 Plan Around your Workout Schedule:

Doing a high-intensity or endurance-testing workout should not be an on-the-whim activity. Instead, try planning out when you will be working out toward the beginning of the week. This will give you ample time to acquire nutritional foods, and plan a diet that will be helpful to you.

 

Lake Shore Physical Therapy Can Help!

At Lake Shore Physical Therapy, we can help you to strategize your diet and lifestyle for a happier, healthier life. Contact us for advice on how you can maximize your diet.