There are more than 180,000 fitness centers and gyms across the globe, and in 2016 there were 62.5 million gym members in the U.S. alone. However, while working out is always beneficial, what you put into your body before, during, and after a workout can help maximize its overall effectiveness. Trying to workout without proper hydration, for instance, is only asking for a bad time.
To help you stay on top of your game, here is what you should be doing before, during, and after every workout.
Fuel Up Before You Workout
Experts recommend that you start preparing up to two hours before hitting the gym. This means drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy meal such as whole-grain toast, cereal, low-fat yogurt, fruits, or veggies. Adding some good carbohydrates to your body beforehand can help give you the energy you need to complete your workout more effectively.
If possible stay away from saturated fats, as these will digest slower and prevent needed oxygen and blood from being directed towards your workout making you feel more rundown and sluggish.
Staying Fueled During Your Workout
While drinking plenty of water is always advised during a workout, if you’re planning to exercise for more than an hour, it’s advised you stop for a quick snack every half hour to an hour. Even something as simple as munching down a banana can help keep you feeling great throughout even those most high-intensity workouts.
If you’re planning on attending multiple group classes at your local gym, consider keeping a small lunch bag on hand stocked with fruit, yogurt, and water so that you can keep going for as long as you need.
Topping Up After Your Workout
After you’ve finished at the gym, sit back with some water to congratulate yourself on an awesome workout. You can even mix in a small bit of fruit juice to help provide both fluid and carbohydrates. Experts also recommend topping up with a protein-rich snack with a side of even more carbohydrates. Since carbs act as fuel for your muscles, you need to be sure to replenish them after a workout. Similarly, eating some protein can help your muscles repair and grow so that your gains can be even better.
Getting the Most Out of Your Workouts
Food and drink play a bigger role than you might think when it comes to staying on top of your game at the gym. Just as you wouldn’t expect a car to run without fuel, you can’t expect your body to work without the proper nutrients. Whether you’re seeking a light workout or a high-intensity conditioning exercise, making sure you put the right things in can help ensure that you get the right things out. Which in this case means the energy and muscle building carbs and proteins your body needs.
If you’re planning on hitting the gym soon, make sure to stock up on the fuel that you need so that you can get the most out of your next exercise. Your body will thank you.