Pre/Post-Workout Recovery Foods

December 23, 2011

This is a guest post by Marina Salsbury.

Building muscle mass and sustaining energy after your workout requires fuel, in the form of food, so your muscles have a nutrient-filled environment to grow while you continue on with your day without fatiguing. Ideal food for sustaining energy, maintaining health, and realizing results pre and post-workout include whole wheat bread or pasta, lean chicken or fish, beans, green vegetables and fresh berries.

Energy-rich grains include wheat bread, wheat pasta, bran cereal and brown rice. These foods ensure you are at peak performance because they are a natural source of carbohydrate energy. The nutrient, carbohydrate, is metabolized by the body into smaller glucose molecules that absorb into the bloodstream and then travel to your cells, supplying them with energy. Not all carbohydrates are created equal and when it comes to healthy, natural energy from this nutrient, experts, nutritionists, and masters degree holders in health sciences all choose whole grains such as wheat bread, wheat pasta, bran cereal or brown rice because they have a reputation for slowly increasing blood glucose levels, which allow for longer bursts of energy for your workout instead of a rapid rise in blood glucose followed by a sugar crash.

Strawberries, broccoli or a spinach salad also make for tasty, energy-boosting foods to add to the pre or post-workout meals. These healthy carbohydrates play a role in restoring energy because they also contain potassium, sodium, magnesium, and the B-vitamins your body needs to maintain fluid balance for internal electrical activity between the nerves and muscles.

Adding chicken, salmon, tuna or egg whites to your meal plans for a protein boost. Protein is the building block of all muscle in the body. Energy is an essential component pre and post-workout, but without protein to help your muscles perform at peak levels your intended workout efforts might fall short. Muscle cells constantly require protein and this is especially important after a muscle-straining workout. Protein consumed within a couple hours post-workout helps regenerate the muscle cells and research evidences that post-workout protein increases restoration of power and force to the muscles worked during the exercise.

The ideal pre-workout meal includes a 3-ounce baked, skinless chicken breast sandwiched between whole-wheat bread. As an alternative you can choose a scrambled egg white with a side cup of fresh blueberries and one slice of whole wheat toast. The chicken and eggs serve as your protein for muscle maintenance and the wheat bread and berries supply healthy carbohydrate energy.

If you pump hardcore iron as your workout consume a high-protein snack afterwards. Four ounces of grilled salmon or baked chicken are protein-filled items that support muscle recovery. Include a full glass or two of water to replenish fluids to your muscle cells. An intense cardiovascular workout warrants a post-exercise snack with light protein and more healthy carbohydrates. Opt for one boiled egg white chopped over a one-cup serving of a leafy green salad or as an alternative consume plain tuna on whole wheat bread with a side of strawberries. Be sure to include a full glass of water as well.

The best foods for pre and post-workout are those with high nutritional value and little to no processing. The items you choose do not have to be full meal portions but just enough to give your body the energy boost it needs for the workout and to sustain itself as well as glean the best results after the workout.

Nothing feels more exhilarating than a solid workout where you exerted your maximal effort. Pumping iron and optimizing the heart rate through continuous movement, or cardiovascular activity, on a regular basis are sure fire ways to gain lean muscle, burn calories or supplement a weight loss program.

But as you commit to a solid workout program, make sure you keep enough fuel in your tank with the suggested foods, so you can get through the workout from start to finish and beyond.

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