Eating right before, during and after Workout!
Nutrition is an integral part of sports performance for young athletes. Macronutrients, micronutrients and fluids in the proper amounts are necessary to provide energy for any sports activity. To bring out the best performance, it’s important to know what, when and how to eat and drink before, during and after activity.
Having a well-balanced diet is the key to meet your nutritional needs while practising a sport. Let us understand how to eat and drink well while being active, to help us feel energetic, perform a sport well and recover faster after it!
Before and during exercise
Carbohydrate is stored in our muscles and liver. Eating carbohydrate-rich meals or snacks 1–4 hours before exercising, helps to top up your energy levels and you would be able to exercise for 90 minutes up to 3 hours without being tired. If you feel hungry and want to grab something shortly before your exercise, bananas are the best option! They promote a quick release of energy. But if you are doing workout a bit longer, say for more than an hour, eating 30-60 g carbohydrates every hour can help to avoid low blood sugar levels, keeps you high on energy and enables a faster recovery. This also aids a better performance. A cereal bar, banana or even a sports drink can be of help in such instances!
It is important to eat right after the exercise in order to help the body recover, to build muscle and restore the energy lost. It is advised to eat within half an hour post workout. Instead of eating snacks, you may go ahead and enjoy a full meal as well! It is necessary if your last meal was several hours ago or plan to workout again, say in another 8 hours. While banana seems to be an ideal food anytime, a few other meals you can have include, cheese sandwich, dry apricots, a glass of milk, natural protein shakes etc. Drinking milk for recovery is helpful in building muscle, reducing the damage that exercise causes to muscles and hydration.
Keep yourself hydrated:
You lose almost 2% or more of your body weight while working out. Hence it's important to keep your body hydrated before, during and post workouts. It's advised you drink around 400-700 ml of fluids before working out and 400-800 ml per hour based on the heat, humidity and how much you sweat. While sports drinks are ideal during a workout, water and milk are the best options post workout.
If your sweat losses are high, you are likely to have lost large amounts of electrolytes including sodium. Drink something containing electrolytes such as an orange juice, especially when exercising for more than 2 hours. Alcohol tends to have negative effects on hydration, and decreases exercise performance and needs to be strictly avoided.
Eating well is an essential complement to exercise, and it is even better when you eat the right food at the right time. So just as you are careful to choose the right sports that suit you, make sure you have the right diet plan as well ready!
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