Whether you love going on long runs, taking Spinning classes, or lifting weights, you know that working out takes a lot of energy. That’s where a healthy diet comes in: Eating the right things at the right times can help you feel stronger, last longer, and recover faster.
Before your workout:
The goal here is storing up some energy to power through the coming sweat session. Reach for something with carbohydrates in it—this will give your muscles the fuel they need to work hard—and avoid too much fiber. One good choice is a simple piece of fruit, like an apple or banana. To give your body time to digest, eat at least an hour before you work out. (Depending on the duration and intensity of your workout, this can get cut down to 30 minutes if you’re an early morning exerciser.)
During your workout:
If you’re exercising for less than an hour, there’s no need to worry about a mid-workout snack. But longer bouts of exercise do require some replenishment while they’re underway. The best refuel combo is a one-two punch of fluids and carbohydrates. Hydrate and replace your electrolytes with Emergen-C Hydration+, a new sports drink mix. If your workout is superlong, get carbs from sports gels.
After your workout:
Now it’s time to repair your body. Within roughly 20 minutes of hanging up your gym towel, eat a mix of protein and carbohydrates. The carbohydrates will help replace muscle glycogen; the protein will help with muscle repair and recovery. Grab a chocolate milk, some yogurt and berries, or a few slices of turkey on a piece of whole wheat bread.