Food that is Guaranteed to Enhance Your Gym Performance
The link between good health and good nutrition is well established. Fuelling your body with the right nutrients is crucial when it comes down to the overall performance of your workout. The interest in nutrition and its impact on sporting performance has become a science in itself since the digital era has made society more health conscious, particularly when it comes to our eating habits. Regular exercise is important, but according to research, nutrition has the largest impact on our fitness.
Training diet requirements
The basic training diet should be sufficient enough to provide enough energy and nutrients to meet the demands of your particular training, exercise and fitness. It is also vital that what you eat aids recovery between training sessions in order to enable you to achieve optimal body weight and fat levels. Finally, your diet must contain adequate fluids to ensure maximum hydration before, during and after exercise.
Carbs are essential for fuel and recovery. During digestion, all carbohydrates are broken down into sugar (glucose), which is the body’s energy source. Glucose can be converted into glycogen and stored in the liver and muscle tissue. It can then be used as a key energy source during exercise to fuel your workout.
If carbs in the diet are restricted, your ability to exercise is compromised because there is not enough glycogen to fuel your body. However, it’s important to fuel your body with the right carbohydrates for healthy and effective results.
Your recommended carbohydrate intake varies depending on the duration, frequency and intensity of exercise. Food that is rich in unrefined carbohydrates (whole grains) should form the basis of your diet if you wish to gain the most out of your performance and workout.
What to eat?
Having a small carb-containing snack such as a piece of wholemeal toast with a banana on top around 30 minutes- 1 hour before your workout will help you avoid a performance slump and enable your body to exercise more intensely and for longer.
It is a misconception that protein should only be consumed after your workout. Recent studies have shown that pre-workout protein consumption improves athletic performance and recovery. Eating protein (alone or with carbs) prior to exercise has been proven to increase your muscle protein synthesis which is the biological process whereby amino acids are used to create new proteins (build muscle).
What to eat?
Chicken is a slice of great lean meat with a high protein and low-fat content that is easy to digest making it the perfect pre or post workout meal that will enhance your performance and recovery.
Protein Powders and Supplements
Protein powders are extremely effective when it comes to building muscle. If you invest in some good quality whey protein powders, you are guaranteed to see a significant body transformation as well as a heightened performance (the ability to lift heavier weights). Watch out for protein bars as they may have more fibre and fat in that is optimal.
A lot of people turn to health supplements to assist their fitness goals as these have been proven to boost workout routines and metabolism. It is important to remember that although health supplements are effective, they shouldn’t be used instead of a healthy and balanced diet.
Endurance Enhancing Foods
Oatmeal is a whole-grain which will provide you with long-lasting energy. It contains beta-glucan which is a soluble fibre that forms a thick gel when combines with water. The presence of this gel in the digestive system delays stomach emptying and the absorption of glucose into the blood (which turns to unwanted fat).
What to Eat?
These pre/post-workout snacks are important for the recovery, refuel and repair of your body which will guarantee the best results for your gym performance.
Yoghurt is the perfect low-calorie food rich in protein and carbohydrates. It contains amino acids that help build muscles and regain lost energy along with nutrients like zinc, potassium and Vitamin B. The simple sugars found in yoghurt can provide ready-to-use energy perfect for a pre-workout snack.
Pineapple is a great pre/post workout food because, asides from its high vitamin C levels, pineapple contains an enzyme called ‘bromelain’ that helps digest protein. It also used as a digestive aid to treat many kinds of muscle injuries and inflammation. Snacking on grilled pineapple before or after your workout will have you feeling refreshed and energized as well as it is super tasty.
One of the best sources of natural protein on the market is eggs. Egg whites help to increase muscle mass and also contain zero fat. Make an omelette by combining egg whites which spinach and peppers for the perfect pre/post workout meal that will fuel your body for a long period of time.
Salmon contains nutrient-rich fish oils which can cure joint pains and muscle stiffness. It is also high in omega 3 which is great for your heart. This is the perfect meal to fit into your low-fat, high-protein diet as well as it tasting delicious!
It may seem like an obvious point, but it is vital that you stay hydrated before, during and after your workout. Drinking water is the foundation of your fitness performance and lack of hydration can drastically reduce your ability to workout.
Caffeine is guaranteed to improve your gym performance, increase strength and power as well as reduce feelings of fatigue and stimulate fat burning. It doesn’t really matter how you consume caffeine as the effects on your performance are the same. Caffeine’s peak effects occur 60-90 minutes after consumption although this varies from person to person.
If you aren’t a fan of drinking coffee, then you can invest in some caffeine supplements as these will be equally as effective. Be precautious of the ingredients and dosage of the tablets as too much caffeine is deemed to be unsafe, particularly if you have heart problems.