Energy is basic for any activity, right from doing chores at work to performing in a sports event. There have been debates and controversies on the foods that can be taken before a workout, even more if any food can be consumed in the first place. Questions such as "Should I consume a sports drink when participating in a long run?” or “Is it safe to eat and drink before and after a workout?” are common ones that linger in each of our minds. The below given answers to some of the most common questions help to segregate fact from fiction.
Are Proteins the only Nutrients for Muscle Growth?
Protein is needed to complete the requirements of a well-balanced diet, but eating too much of this nutrient is not going to make you extremely stronger. The best way to grow muscles is to activate them. Carbs are the best sources to fuel working muscles as they contribute to 50-60% of energy utilized during one to four hours of moderate or hard endurance activity.
Can Gels, Energy Bars or Sports Drink Substitute the Nutrients Available in Real Foods?
Talking about sports, gels and energy bars might be fun, chic and serve the purpose of providing the body with the required energy, but they are not inevitable as real food can furnish our body with the same benefits as these workout fuels. An athlete’s main goals should be to replace lost fluids and provide carbs to keep blood glucose levels under control when involved in activities for more than 60 minutes.
The only exception when these gels, chews or drinks are preferred over real food is when the athlete is subjected to digestive problems while consuming solid food during workout. Consumption of food and fluids must be sketched based on the athlete’s gastrointestinal tract tolerance, duration and intensity of workout.
Does Working Out on an Empty Stomach Provide an Advantageous Edge?
Body needs fuel to run, jump, swim or lift weights. Your early morning workout should not be done on an empty stomach as studies show that eating before exercising improves performance compared to exercising on an empty stomach. Never skip your morning breakfast as this is the meal that is going to refill liver glycogen and steady blood sugar levels. If you are not comfortable to eat solids as the first thing in the morning, you can choose between a fruit smoothie or a liquid meal supplement. Also, remember to hydrate before you exercise.
Exercising Daily Gives me the Benefit of Eating Regardless of Portion Sizes. Doesn’t It?
Exercising daily does not mean that you can eat anything that you wish for ignoring portion sizes and eating guidelines. Don’t go overboard while estimating calories burnt while working out. Calorie intake depends on the event you are involved in. For instance, when you work out more than once in a day for a triathlon or participate in multiple events in a day you need to consume more calories. If you are a normal exerciser involved in physical activity for 60 minutes or less in a day, a well-balanced diet fulfills your requirement.
Can I Drink Chocolate Milk Daily?
The milk, carbohydrate and protein content might make it sound as the perfect recovery aid, but remember that it is not the only aid. Unsweetened yogurt or whole-wheat turkey sandwich (half) can serve the purpose as well.