With lockdown lifting and gyms set to reopen this week, many of us will be thinking about heading back to the gym for the first time in a while!
Looking after ourselves is more important than ever, and good nutrition and exercise can be a great way to boost both our physical and mental health.
Yet with so much advice out there on how to make sure you’re fueling your body correctly, it can be hard to know where to start.
Rebecca Williams, Nutrition Manager at Huel shares her top six tips on how to make sure you’re giving your body everything it needs pre and post workout.
When experts talk about ‘pre-workout fuel’ they might actually be referring to two separate things. The first is the main meal you eat in the hours before you work out, which is typically breakfast or lunch. The second is a snack that you eat around 30 minutes before your workout.
- What to eat – You should always aim to have a source of starchy carbohydrates two hours before training, this is because you need time for the food to be digested so that the glucose is circulating in the bloodstream and can be delivered to your muscles. This will help you to avoid low blood sugar levels during exercise which in turn can lead to fatigue and lightheadedness.
- What to avoid – Make sure to avoid eating anything high in fibre, fat and protein right before a workout, as it will slow down your digestion and blood flow will be directed at the gut instead of working your muscles.
- Think practically – Make sure to think about what is practical and realistic for you and your lifestyle. For example, for some people it might be ideal to have a large bowl of porridge two to three hours before an endurance event. For others, a large meal before working out might make them feel nauseous. Make sure you’re listening to your body and eating what’s right for you.
Your post-workout meal is the most important as it sets your body up for your next workout. There are three main ‘R’s to consider post exercise; rehydrate, replenish and rebuild.
- Rehydrate – We lose water during workouts via sweat, which needs to be replaced post-workout. Try to sip water over during the hours after your workout, rather than drinking a large volume right after you finish your exercise. If you drink water too quickly post-exercise it’s more likely that you will pass it as urine, rather than it being absorbed.
- Replenish – It’s crucial to replenish your carbohydrate stores – otherwise known as glucose – post-workout. After strenuous exercise, whether weights based or endurance based, you need to rebuild your muscles by consuming protein. This can be in the form of a meal that includes a source of protein such as meat, dairy or plant-based proteins such as brown rice and quinoa. Huel Powder v3.0 is a great option as it provides carbohydrates and protein, as well as being a source of hydration because you add water to make your meal.
- Rebuild – Protein intake is important to rebuild the muscles, as they have effectively been ‘damaged’ during exercise. Protein provides essential amino acids which are the building blocks of muscle, it’s these amino acids which allow mussels to rebuild and adapt following a training stimulus. The co-ingestion of protein and carbohydrates together in a meal, will also help to increase the rate of muscle glycogen storage in short term recovery, it can decrease DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), and can also help to increase muscle protein synthesis (making new muscle).
Whilst it’s one thing to know what you should be putting into your body, it can be challenging to find everything you need on the go.
Huel provides a convenient solution as each product provides a good balance of nutrients, is high in plant-based protein plus it provides all essential vitamins and minerals in each serving, so you know you’re meeting your dietary needs.
Huel now provides healthy meals for lunchtimes with their new Hot & Savoury range, a nutritionally complete warm and tasty meal with 24 grams of plant-based protein, made with whole foods and natural ingredients.