A healthy and well-balanced nutrition is an essential part of any workout program. Depending on the specific nutritional and energetic requirements before and after a workout session, there are certain types of foods that may help one achieve maximum results. Before talking about specific food choices, gaining a basic knowledge of metabolic processes that take place before and after a workout may help one approach his or her diet choice more effectively.
Increased Carbohydrate Deposits in Muscles Before the Workout Session will Help Achieve Maximum Results
The muscles require energy for their contraction. Muscle endurance and strength are directly dependent upon the amount of energy that is available in the muscle fiber. If energetic deposits are insufficient, muscle fatigue sets in and prevents one from reaching his or her maximum potential during the workout session. The main source of energy for muscles is glycogen, which is a complex carbohydrate that consists of long chains of sugar molecules connected to each other. During the workout, glycogen is broken into individual sugar molecules, which are burned to provide adequate amounts of energy to supply muscle contraction. The main goal before a workout is thus replenishing the muscle glycogen deposits for more muscle endurance and less fatigue.
How Does This Translate into a Pre-Workout Food Choice?
The main focus before a workout is to eat foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates, which will significantly increase your muscle glycogen deposits. Another important goal is an increased liquid intake because dehydration is a common problem during prolonged workout sessions. Valuable complex carbohydrates foods include whole-grain cereals, nuts and seeds. Unlike simple sugar that is absorbed instantly in the blood and exhausts the pancreatic insulin deposits, these foods provide slow-release carbohydrates that are absorbed gradually and supply a steady source of energy for your muscles. Fruits and vegetables are also a great source of natural carbohydrates, and they additionally contain high amounts of water for proper muscle hydration. It is not recommended to eat high-fat, high-protein foods like meat, cheese and eggs before a workout because these require substantial energy and effort for digestion, which will divert the blood to the digestive system away from your muscles, and will impair your performance.
A High Intake of Proteins is Required after a Workout to Speed-up Muscle Repair Processes
The nutritional requirements may change after your workout session. After prolonged exertion, your muscles need to repair themselves and produce new muscle proteins. Also, several enzymes that take part in the energetic muscle metabolism need to be produced. Translated into a specific diet, it means increasing the protein intake for proper muscle repair and growth. Although proper carbohydrate intake is also necessary during this stage, protein requirements need to be addressed first, otherwise the muscles may not recover properly, which will affect your future performance. However, many high-protein foods also have a high amount of cholesterol. Fish, lean meat, soy, low-fat milk, low-fat cheese and nuts are great sources of protein and are also low in fat. Eggs are also a great source of proteins, however the eggs yolk has plenty of fat and cholesterol. If you are concerned about your fat intake and cholesterol levels, you can separate the egg whites, which have plenty of protein but are low in fat, and use them to make your omelet.
A guest post contributed on behalf of Bingostreet Free Bingo by Samantha Harvey.