Last night, Dr. Bailey gave an excellent presentation on how to properly fuel your body before, during, and after exercise. This topic can go in a number of different directions, based on your individual fitness goals as well as your body type. Nutrition protocols and recommendations are and should be different depending on if you want to lose, maintain, or gain weight, and the type of exercise that you are participating in. This article is going to be more of a generalized recap, with pretty standard tips and recommendations for anyone who regularly exercise.
Prior to exercise, it is important to provide your body with the fuel it needs to get through the workout. Carbohydrates are the best source for this time, as the body will break them down into glucose, our primary energy source. We want to focus on complex carbohydrates, which generally come from sources found in nature, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Simple carbohydrates, which are classically in the form of processed breads, grains, and sugary foods, should be avoided, as they are pro-inflammatory and don’t contain much fiber. Many of the micronutrients found within these carbohydrates are lipid-soluble, meaning the body needs fat in order to absorb them, so adding a healthy form of fat with the carbohydrates prior to a workout is always a good idea. A great example for a pre-workout meal would be a bowl of oatmeal with some natural nut butter, blueberries and banana slices added.
During a workout, maintaining hydration should be the primary focus. A standard amount of daily water intake should be half your body weight in ounces, per day. So, a 200lb person should drink at least 100oz of water, baseline. On exercise days, at least 24oz per hour of activity should be added to that total. It is also important to replenish the electrolytes lost during exercise however, sugary sports drinks are not your best option for this. While they do a good job at providing those electrolytes, the sugar in those drinks makes them more harmful than good. A better option would be a more natural source, such as coconut water. Supplementing salt or other dissolvable electrolyte mixes into plain water is also a great way to give your body what it needs without sugar.
Protein is the most important macronutrient for post-workout nutrition because it contains amino acids needed to repair muscle tissue from the damage it takes during exercise. The protein-shake world has become a booming industry for this reason. The majority of these shakes contain protein from animal sources, such as whey or casein protein, but plant protein such as pea, rice, or hemp can be beneficial as well. When searching for a good post-workout protein shake, make sure to find one that comes from natural, grass-fed sources when using animal protein, and focus on chemical-free, non-GMO sources of plant proteins. Common foods with the protein needed to refuel your body post-workout include organic chicken, free-range eggs, wild-caught fish, and grass-fed red meats.
As I mentioned, nutrition recommendations may be different for each individual based on goals, but these are standard points to focus on for everyone. If you are interested in learning more about nutrition specific to you, we’d love to help!
Yours in Health, Dr. Alex
Project Wellness Company, Madison WI
Reach out to us today for a complimentary nutrition counseling session with Dr. Bailey, DC & HHC.