Getting the most out of your workout routine requires more than just showing up and putting in the effort during your training sessions. What you eat and drink before, during and after your workouts can have a huge impact on your performance, recovery and results. Here are eight nutritional tips to help boost your workout routine.
1. Fuel Up on Carbs Before Your Workout
Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for your muscles during exercise. Making sure you get adequate carbs in the hours leading up to your workout will help maximize the amount of energy you have available to power through your routine. Go for healthy carb choices like oats, whole grain toast, sweet potatoes, brown rice or fruit. Avoid high fat or high fiber carbs right before a workout as they take longer to digest.
2. Hydrate with Water and Electrolytes
Staying hydrated is crucial for exercise performance and recovery. Aim to sip water consistently in the hours leading up to your workout. Also, consider adding an electrolyte supplement like a sports drink, coconut water or electrolyte tablets to help replace lost minerals from sweat. Proper hydration will help you maintain strength, endurance and mental focus during your training.
3. Consume Protein and Carbs After Your Workout
What you eat in the 30-60 minutes after your workout is key for recovery and muscle growth. Consuming protein and carbs during this post-workout window helps restock glycogen stores, repair damaged muscle fibers and stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Great options include a protein shake with whey protein and fruit, chocolate milk, yogurt with granola or an egg omelet with whole grain toast.
4. Increase Your Protein Intake
Increasing your daily protein intake can help boost strength gains, muscle growth and workout recovery. Aim for 0.5-0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. High protein foods include lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts and a very clean whey protein isolate. Spread your protein intake out over all your meals and snacks.
5. Take Key Supplements
Certain supplements can enhance your exercise performance, energy and recovery from workouts. Helpful supplements to consider include creatine (for power and strength gains), caffeine (for increased alertness and endurance), beta-alanine (to prevent fatigue) and branched chain amino acids or BCAAs (to decrease muscle soreness).
6. Avoid Extreme Calorie Restriction
Severely restricting your calorie intake can backfire when you’re trying to boost your workout routine. You need adequate energy and nutrients to fuel your training sessions, recover properly afterwards and build lean muscle mass over time. Be cautious of extreme dieting and aim to only be in a moderate calorie deficit if you’re looking to lose weight.
7. Don’t Skimp on Healthy Fats
While carbs are the main fuel for exercise, getting enough healthy fats in your diet also provides energy for workouts. Sources like avocado, nut butters, olive oil, fatty fish and chia seeds also help you better absorb fat-soluble vitamins and support hormone production.
8. Time Your Nutrition
When you eat certain nutrients around your workouts matters just as much as what you eat. Time the intake of carbs, protein and fluids strategically before, during and after training for optimal fueling, performance and recovery. Seek advice from a sports nutritionist or qualified coach on properly timing your nutritional intake.
Optimizing your nutrition provides a valuable performance boost to get more out of your workout sessions. Focus on fueling up properly before and after training, staying hydrated, increasing protein intake, taking key supplements and avoiding extreme dieting. Applying these nutritional tips at the right times will help you train harder, recover faster and build more strength and muscle over time.