jury is still out on whether snacking is indeed necessary or whether we
can survive on the whole "three square meals a day" regimen. But fortunately
for all the snack-lovers out there, experts agree that grazing before
and after your workout definitely shouldn't be skipped. "Especially when
you eat before, you discover that you have more energy, you enjoy the
workout more and have more fun than if you are training on empty and
just thinking about when you can finish and eat," says Nancy Clark, RD, a
sports nutritionist in Boston and author of Sports Nutrition Guidebook.
But not all snacking is created equal. Just as you wouldn't show up in a
bathing suit to your CrossFit class (well, most of us that is), not every snack is suited for every workout. For better results
and recovery, here's how to fuel up before and after your preferred fitness routine.
RunningWhether you're hitting the pavement outside or clocking in time on the treadmill, you'll want to fuel up on the right kind of carbs. "Complex carbohydrates such as pasta, beans and and sweet potatoes are slow absorbing and will set up glycogen stores and keep up endurance," explains Liz Josefsberg, a New York City-based nutrition exercise specialist and weight loss expert. "This is especially important if you're heading out for a run longer than three miles." Choose steel cut oats with walnuts or rice and beans. Running a longer race such as a 10k or training for a marathon? "You'll want to have an easily digestible sugar during your run to help you power through," says Clark. She likes sports beans, gels or even gummy bears or butterscotch.
SpinningAn intense pedaling session calls for something small beforehand so you won't feel woozy during those back-to-back 60-second sprints. "A light snack with a mix of carbs and protein will energize your muscles," says Kundrat. Her favorite is half of a whole grain pita with 2 tablespoons of hummus and half a cup of fresh pineapple or melon, both of which are very hydrating. After you've cycled your heart out, she suggests a big bowl of vegetable soup, which has all the key vitamins and minerals to recharge and will keep you feeling lean and light.
CrossFitCrossFit, one of the most popular types of high-intensity interval training, will definitely make you sweat, so it's super important to hit the right balance of nutrients. "Eating something carb-based is crucial because it will be stored as energy and released as glycogen, helping you push yourself harder an avoid a crash mid-workout," says Josefsberg. She likes a whole grain waffle with ricotta cheese and lite syrup or a sweet potato and three ounces lean turkey or rotisserie chicken. Be sure to eat early — about 60 to 90 minutes before — to avoid nausea.
if your workout is not cardio based, you'll need to prep your muscles before lifting weights. Grab a 10/20 punch (10 grams of protein and 20 grams of
carbohydrates) 30 to 60 minutes beforehand, advises Kundrat. Try a
banana with 2 tablespoons of nut butter or half a turkey sandwich on
whole grain toast. After your iron-pumping session, graze on a 20/40
recovery mix. "The protein in this bigger combination will help repair
muscle tissue, and the higher amount of carbs [will] refuel muscle glycogen." Good 'ol chocolate milk does the trick, or try a shake with one cup of
soy, almond or regular milk, 1/2 scoop whey powder, 1 banana and 1 cup
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