How to Choose The Best Food to Get the Most Effective Workouts
You already know that you are what you eat – literally. As they say junk in…junk out. That also goes for your workouts. If you want a power workout you need to eat power foods.
What are power foods?
These are foods that give you the best nutrition bang for their calories.
When you want to supercharge your workout you’ll find that 200 calories or nuts is going to give you much more energy than 200 calories from a 12 ounce can of soda.
Best Food To Choose For Before Your Workouts
Goals: Keep and Build Lean Muscle Mass and Energy
What To Eat: Complex carbs and lean protein
Working out on an empty stomach can cause muscle loss because when you are hungry the body will go into starvation mode and therefore draw protein for energy from the muscles, instead of from the kidneys and liver where it is supposed to get it from.
This results in the loss of lean muscle mass, and this means a slower metabolism.
Also, power workouts require a lot of energy, and when you don’t fuel your body with the proper sources, you will not have the energy to complete an intense workout.
In fact, if you’re on a serious workout regimen and want to make the most of your diet to produce results, forego meals high in fat and low in protein. These are not conducive to a power diet for power workout regimens and in fact will only weigh you down.
Best Food For After Your Workout
Goals: Restore Energy, Recovery and Repair
What To Eat: Protein with small portion of complex carbs
When you workout the body uses Glycogen in the muscle for energy. This depletion needs to be restored post workout and demands that you do so a soon as possible after exercise. In fact, various research has shown that the refill of muscle store is decreased by 50% when one waits two hours or more to eat following a workout.
A combination of protein and complex carbohydrates is required to restore energy, support high metabolism, and for muscle repair and recovery.
The following are some great foods nourish the body with the right fuel it needs to retain energy, build lean muscle mass, burn fat and calories and build lean muscle mass.
First, take the peanut. Many people consider peanuts “snack” food, and they perhaps should because of their high protein content, but the health benefits go beyond that of healthy snacking, especially for those who are workout enthusiasts.
The peanut is a protein packed dynamo product rich in monounsaturated fats, which are proven heart-healthy and therefore reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease when combined with a heart healthy workout regimen. When choosing peanut butter make sure it’s 100% pure without added sugar.
Any powerhouse workout deserves whole grains for carbohydrates that replace the energy expended during a vigorous workout routine. Grains are packed with antioxidants, including, those that are not found in fruit and vegetables, and they also have loads of iron, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E and magnesium.
You may hear the word “antioxidants” but have you ever considered what all the hype is really about?
Antioxidants strengthen your ability to fight infection and disease. The word is tossed around more than a football but when you stop to think of the free radicals that are everywhere in a world that is hardly germ free, a food source rich in antioxidants is worth growing a fond taste for.
Fortunately, whole grains cover an array of foods such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, couscous, even popcorn.
The nutrient composition of Quinoa earns it the title of a “super food”. It is a complete protein, that’s loaded with essential amino acids. It is also higher in protein than barley, brown rice and other whole grains. It also contains valuable amounts of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
Since we’ve discussed peanuts and grains, naturally seeds must follow. Seeds, much like the aforementioned, are nature’s gift to those who indulge in a regular workout schedule. Perhaps considered more of a “snack” than a food entrée or even side dish, seeds should certainly become a part of anyone’s diet who likes to workout hard and long. Seeds are packed with essential vitamins and minerals to safeguard your body to help regulate the circulatory system and help to maintain strong bones and teeth and bowel regulation.
Next up, is fruit, and it’s no small wonder that fruit it is on the list of “powerhouse foods” for powerhouse workouts. From the time our lives begin, we’ve been reminded that fruit is “good for you.” And if you’ve never heard the word “phytochemicals” that is a word synonymous with antioxidants and fruit, which aid the body’s immune system.
Fruit is a phytochemical rich in so many important vitamins and minerals that the body needs to remain healthy such as calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamins A, B, C and D.
The next powerhouse food for the body to maintain a powerhouse workout regime, dark chocolate. Yes, rejoice, chocolate, but only dark chocolate is the one that is loaded with most of the health benefits referred to as flavonoids or flavonols, the main type found in cocoa, which, again, is considered a powerful antioxidant believed to help the body repair cells, aid in pulmonary and cardiovascular health while “fighting” free radicals, considered internal body pollutants.
Therefore, if you are maintaining a regular workout regimen, you can get your chocolate fix without the guilt.
Another speculation regarding the above list of “powerhouse” foods is that they are plant based. Plant based foods help to fight inflammation caused from workout-over exertion, helping muscle recovery and to heal soreness.
Pre-Workout Meal Suggestions
• Banana with peanut butter
• Black beans and brown rice
• Almonds and apple slices
• Grape Nuts cereal with skim milk and berries
• Hummus on whole grain toast
Post Workout Meal Suggestions
• Protein energy bars
• Protein shakes with bananas, berries and hemp seeds
• Chicken breast with steamed vegetables or salad with olive oil and vinegar
• Tofu and steamed vegetables
• Quinoa with vegetables or with berries
• Pecans and fresh berries
• Whole grain or multi-grain toast with peanut butter
• Black beans and avocado
The above information may be surprising but five of the most nutritious food sources, without the inclusion of meat in any way shape or form, are arguably the best for those who need powerhouse food to maintain a heavy workout regimen.
Again, peanuts, grains, fruits, seeds, and perhaps best of all raw dark chocolate all have something in common. They’re good for your heart, rich in complex carbohydrates, the bodies preferred natural fuel source, and loaded with antioxidants, too.
It would probably be a wise choice to include the above the next time you head out to shop for food that will help you keep your workout strong, along with a diet to match the rigor.