Pre and post-workout meals: Work up an appetite to work out

Don’t exercise after you eat — you may have often been told this. But, what you may not know is the food consumed before and after working out is as important as the workout itself.

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It is said that the secret to good health and staying fit is exercise coupled with a healthy, balanced diet. And to stay energised while exercising, our body requires a certain amount of nutrition. “A high amount of carbohydrate is required so that we have enough energy to sustain. Additionally, we need to consume a good amount of protein after working out so as to repair any wear and tear that may have occurred while working out, and also to build muscle strength,” explains nutritionist Tripti Tandon.

Echoing Tandon’s views is nutritionist and fitness expert Manisha Chopra, who says, “What you eat before and after workout affects your performance, recovery and progress. These meals basically refill the energy in your body, encourage muscle growth and repair and prevent muscle mass breakdown. Food rich in nutrients is the key to lose weight as well as gain muscles. Your workout alone won’t be able to give you good results.”

So what are some of the options one has? “You could go in for some peanut butter and sliced bananas on a slice of toast, a mix of nuts, or a bowl of Greek yogurt with some fruits and almonds in it,” says Tandon, to which Chopra adds, “Pre-workout meals should be consumed one or two hours before the workout.”

Another pre-workout meal option is oatmeal. “Quick and easy to make, oatmeal contains slow release carbs and provides energy through the workout. Just mix oats with warm water and spices, or warm milk and some fruit. Let it stand for a few minutes and your meal is ready!” suggests dietitian Shikha Mahajan.

After workout, Mahajan recommends having some cottage cheese with cantaloupe. “Cottage cheese is a high-protein snack, and its creaminess combined with the sweetness of the cantaloupe provides a dessert-like quality to your meal. While the protein in the cottage cheese helps heal your muscles, the carbohydrates will help replenish glycogen in the muscles. You could also go in for a quinoa salad, for quinoa contains the most ideal quantity of protein and carbs, and thus needs no additions. You could even add in some vegetables to the meal.”

Author tweets @srinidhi_gk

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