It’s already well known that you can’t maintain a healthy lifestyle, or achieve weight loss by focusing only on exercise - or only on nutrition. It’s always a combination of both. Nothing new here, right? However...
Did you know that eating the right foods can make a big difference on the effect your exercise routine will have?
That’s right! Depending on the food you eat -- before or after your workout -- you could have much better results! We’re sure you’ve already heard of these foods, (unfortunately we didn’t stumble upon a magic new food group we’re about to share with you) but maybe you’re not that familiar with the benefits each item can have on your health or how you can use it to its full potential.
Well, we did this research for you, and have collected the top 7 foods you should eat to boost your workout to another level.
When should you eat?
Keep in mind, when your eating prior to your workout make sure it’s at least 1-3 hours before. The reason for that is that your blood all goes to your muscles during exercise, leaving less accessible for the digestion process.
After working out, however… your body is ready for some fuel! You’re spent, tired and need the perfect energy boost. Make sure you eat within an hour of finishing your workout to gain the most benefits.
All hail the power of green tea! Sure, it doesn’t taste the best when you’re not used to drinking it, but once you get into the habit you won’t even taste it. Green tea is filled with antioxidants and is acclaimed for its catechins -- which boost your metabolism! It’s exactly this aspect of green tea that makes it such a power drink for anyone working on improving their well-being or trying to manage their weight loss. In fact, in one study green tea extract helped men burn 17% more fat during their usual cardiovascular workout! So not only will it give you an energy boost, it also helps you burn more fat, more quickly! You can also pair it with citrus, fruit packed with vitamin C and the ideal addition to help increase your weight loss. (especially for that pesky belly bulge all of our women struggle with.)
Greek yogurt makes the perfect pre and post-workout treat! It contains good carbs and protein which will boost your energy when exercising. Actually, it has double the protein of other yogurts and protein is vital for cell growth, repairing tissue as well as building and repairing muscle. So, it also makes for a perfect post-workout treat since it gives your body added nutrition to soothe your muscles after working them out. That’s not all! It’s packed with iodine which is important for the regular function of your thyroid -- something that is essential for a healthy metabolism. You can always add some fruit such as berries, or even some oats to pack an additional energy punch.
If you watched Popeye as a kid, you probably still remember the magic muscles he’d get every time he gobbled down some spinach. Naturally, since real life isn’t a popular cartoon, you won’t instantly bulk up as soon as you eat on some spinach. It is, however, fuel for your muscles! Researchers have discovered that a compound in this delicious green veggie increases protein synthesis by 120 percent! What does that mean? Your muscle tissue will repair itself faster after an intense workout! Don’t expect dramatic results from eating one small plate of spinach, though. You’d need to eat large quantities for any major changes, but don’t let that discourage you! Even taking small steps will (eventually) get you where you want to go.
As a pre-workout snack, oats are great for fueling your muscles because they contain glucose. They’re the perfect source of healthy carbs and fibers! You’ll often hear oatmeal recommended as a perfect weight loss tool and for good reason. It’s usually very fulfilling so you won’t get hungry easily -- especially if you add some fruit and nuts in the mix -- and oatmeal encourages your body to burn fat quicker!
After an intense workout, you might hear someone chip in with a ‘you look as red as a tomato!’ Well, tomatoes are actually super(hero) food that is rich in lycopene, an antioxidant thought to help fight cancer and heart disease. They’re full of vitamins and minerals, such as B6 and iron, which helps your muscles get enough oxygen -- making them the perfect exercise food. Tomatoes are also rich in quercetin, so if you pair them with onions you’ll get extra benefits. (and the start of a tasty salad!) You can experiment with various dips, or salsas by combining tomatoes with some other healthy vegetables, such as jalapeno which have thermogenic properties, normally ideal for fat-burning. They’re packed with magnesium and potassium which promote bone function, by redirecting calcium from your blood into the bones and preventing calcium loss as you age.
Full of anthocyanins, which give radish their red hue, and are shown to burn fat and even reduce the risk of diabetes. They’re also known for reducing cholesterol, inflammation and insulin resistance. Red radish is also known to promote glucose uptake, and increase your energy metabolism which is why it made this list of the best foods to eat in order to increase the positive effects of your workout! If we’ve convinced you to make radish a new nutrition staple, it’s an absolutely perfect match for any salad or you can cut it up and dip it in hummus. (Who doesn’t love some hummus?)
BERRIES & CHERRIES
Blueberries, strawberries, cherries… there’s nothing sweeter!
Let’s start with strawberries -- they’re full of anthocyanins which help decrease that pesky belly fat. They’re also overflowing with metabolism-boosting vitamin C, which makes them the perfect pre-workout snack! Blueberries, on the other hand, make for a perfect post-workout refresher. They’re a rich source of vitamins which can improve the speed at which your muscles recover after exercise. Then we have the sweet, sweet cherries which are among the most antioxidant-rich fruits. They’re high in fiber which keeps you full for longer so it’s the perfect fruit if you’re trying to maintain your weight or achieve weight loss.
There are many other fruits and vegetables that can help with your health goals -- whether that goal is improving benefits from your workouts, achieving weight loss, or simply providing your body with all the nutrients it truly needs. If you find a way to incorporate these veggies and fruits into your daily life, we're sure you'll start feeling the benefits of it very soon!