Losing weight is not about starving yourself! Instead it is about making some dietary adjustments to make sure you receive proper nourishment at the right time. The best way to do that is by combining exercise with healthy meals. It starts with eating the right foods at the right time. If you are wondering about what to eat before, during and after your workout, we have you covered.
When it comes to having a lean body, it isn’t just the workout that matters but also the meals one takes before and after. What we eat before exercise influences our performance, and what we eat after helps build muscle mass and replenishes the exhausted energy reserves.
Pre workout meal for weight loss
A good meal before a workout can effectively fuel the body with the energy it needs to exercise, without facing gut issues. Without a healthy pre-workout snack, one may get fatigued, which can impact the speed and intensity of your workout. A drop in blood sugar immediately after exercise can also lead to binge-eating.
A pre-workout meal should ideally be balanced, comprising complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. However, the snack you have would also depend on the type, intensity, duration, and time of your workout.
Healthy snacks one can have before their workout include:
- fruit smoothie (yogurt or almond/soy milk + a cup of any seasonal fruit),
- an apple or a pear with 1-2 tbsp of nut butters (almond or peanut butter)
- bowl of greek yogurt topped with with granola and fresh berries
- handful of nuts mixture with a banana
- home made granola bar (nuts, seeds, honey/jaggery, and rolled oats)
- 3-4 rice cakes topped with 2 tbsp of any nut butter
- small bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and fruit of your choice.
- A beetroot salad, juice, or sandwich is a great idea before a workout as it’s rich in nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide and help improve blood flow to the muscles and stamina. Beetroot is also rich in potassium, which strengthens nerves and balances electrolytes.
The ideal time for consuming a pre-workout meal is thirty minutes to three hours. One may have to experiment to determine their best time.
Post workout meal for weight loss
The body requires a good meal for its recovery after a workout session. One should aim for a quick meal/snack 15-20 minutes after a workout and follow it up with a proper meal two-three hours later.
If you’re aiming for weight maintenance or weight loss, your post-workout meal should consist of complex carbohydrates (such as brown rice, rolled oats, quinoa, and millets) and proteins (such as chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, legumes, lentils, and beans). A combination of these two macro nutrients help in muscle synthesis and revival of the lost glycogen stores in the body. If your post-workout meal is going to be your main meal, then you can have a platter of 150 grams of grilled fish/tofu/chicken with a small portion of brown rice/quinoa and some sauteed vegetables. You can also have an oats and nuts smoothie, chickpeas salad, boiled egg whites, and chicken soup after exercise.
Including whey protein shake after the workout session helps in speedy muscle recovery. Whey protein mixed with water is an easy and ideal post-workout meal as it’s quickly absorbed in the body and works instantly on the damaged muscle fibres.
The presence of more muscle mass in the body allows one to burn more calories even at rest, which can significantly help in weight loss.