As a college student I feel like I am constantly on the go and so that means I need to strategically plan out my workouts. Most of the time they occur early in the morning before class or I will try to fit them in between classes. Regardless, I never really knew how important it was to fuel up and recover after workouts.
Even though many people don’t eat before a morning workout (guilty) research shows that you can actually lose muscle if you are working out on an empty stomach. This happens because when you are hungry your body draws protein from your muscles instead of where it normally comes from such as your liver and kidneys. Losing muscle mass by not eating before a workout will in-turn slow your metabolism and make it HARDER for you to lose weight.
So what should you eat? CARBS. CARBS. CARBS. CARBS. I cannot stress enough how important carbs are for energy before your workout to help you power through an intense training session.Examples:
- Whole wheat toast & a banana
- Greek Yogurt and a little nut trail mix (don’t go over board with nuts since they are high in fat!)
- Oatmeal & fresh fruit
- Apple with 1 tbsp of almond butter (try to find one with no salt!)
- Whole-grain crackers with hummus or low—fat string cheese
**Sometimes if I am doing cardio as my morning workout, I will just grab a banana and a small cup of coffee to get me going
Why eat after?? Don’t worry about undoing all the hard work you just put in, eating after a workout is key to optimal recovery.
“During exercise, your body taps the fuel stored in your muscles known as glycogen for energy. After you’ve cranked out that last rep, your muscles are depleted of their glycogen stores and broken down. Eating (or drinking) something that combines protein and carbohydrates 30 minutes to an hour after your workout refills energy stores, builds and repairs your muscles that were broken down, and helps keep your metabolism burning strong.”-Shape
What should you eat? Focus on getting in some lean protein for muscle building & repair! I also like to drink a ZICO Chocolate Coconut Water after my workout to hydrate and replenish my body. ZICO has 5 electrolytes and as much potassium as a banana! (Not to mention the chocolate flavor is seriously so good.)Examples:
- Grilled Chicken and Veggies
- Veggie & Avocado Omelet WITH yolks…here my rant about yolks here
- Salmon and sweet potatoes
- Tuna, hummus & spinach sandwich on whole wheat bread
- Protein Shake