Hey everyone! I hope this post finds you well-tanned, well-rested, and soaking up every second of this summer! This week, I wanted to write about one of my favorite things in the world: food! It nourishes us, it gives us energy, and, most notably, it tastes damn good. Food is especially important for us active girls who like to stay on the move - in order to get the most out of a sweaty workout or class, we have to make sure to stock up on all the right nutrients! Don’t get me wrong, I usually manage to fit some ice cream (or any variation of sweets) into my daily diet, but when it comes to pre- and post-workout snacks, I make a point to focus on the right food to build some muscle and give me tons of energy to keep going. After years of volleyball training and various exercise classes, I’ve learned which foods help me perform my best and refuel me afterward, and I’d love to share some of these tips with all of you!
When it comes to pre-workout snacks, I’ve found it's best to keep it on the lighter side. It’s hard to get moving on a full stomach, and you could risk a gnarly stomach ache if you eat too heavily before activity, especially if it involves cardio. When picking your pre-workout snack, it’s important to integrate carbohydrates to build energy and protein to build those muscles! Some good options are peanut butter with fruit (berries, bananas, etc.), oatmeal, or, my personal favorite, avocado toast! Sprinkle some salt, pepper, and everything bagel seasoning on top, and you've got yourself a delicious, easy snack before class! If you’re one of the lucky ones who aren’t sensitive to dairy, greek yogurt with some granola is always a good option as well. These are just a few examples of quick, healthy, and effective pre-workout snacks, and there are countless options to fit your unique tastes and needs!
After working up a good sweat, the first thing anyone should do is hydrate! Whether it’s water, a sports drink, or a hydration supplement, it’s essential to make up for water loss and replenish electrolytes. When it comes to snacks or meals, it’s just as important to refuel with plenty of carbs and proteins! My nutritionist has always encouraged me to try to eat at least a little something within thirty minutes to an hour after exercise. Personally, this usually involves protein bars (Quest Bars have my heart), protein shakes, or mixed nuts. If you’ve got time for a meal, I’ve found that a quinoa or rice bowl with some healthy proteins like chicken, turkey, or fish and plenty of veggies help make me feel refueled and recovered. Like the pre-exercise snacks, protein and carbs are essential for building and repairing muscles. A heavy HIIT class or 5-mile run won’t benefit you in the long run if you don’t give your body what it needs to recover and rebuild!
The takeaways: carbs and protein are your friends! Thanks to diet culture, there’s a common misconception that carbs are fattening and should be limited. This couldn’t be more misleading, especially if you’re an athlete or active adult! In fact, carbs and proteins are two of the three macronutrients that everyone needs in their diet to maintain a healthy body. Additionally, as I’m sure you already know, DRINK SOME WATER! Think of the amount of sweat that your body produces while exercising...it’s important to replace all those fluids to maintain a balanced system and increase your energy levels. Whether you're trying to build muscle, lose weight, or just enjoy a good sweat session, the food you eat before and after a workout makes a huge impact on the results!
By: Ali Mader