What you eat pre and post workout can directly affect your performance during and recovery after. Cardio workouts, such as spin classes, are no joke; so don’t let all of your hard work go to waste by eating the wrong foods or by not eating at all. Your body needs fuel to function, especially if you are about to take a 45-minute to 1 hour spin class. So what should you eat? Eating a snack or meal rich in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fat is a good rule to follow. Carbs are the best fuel for working muscles, especially during an intense cardio workout such as spin. Carbs are partially converted to glycogen, which is stored in your muscles in order to power your workout. If you are having a meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) you should give yourself 2-3 hours before working out and less 30 minutes to an hour for small snacks. For those who work out in the morning, don’t skip breakfast before your workout! Breakfast means to break the fast. Have something small such as a fruit smoothie, a banana, or split your breakfast in half (have half before your workout and half after). No matter what time you workout, always hydrate before, during and after exercise.
Try some of these snacks pre workout to help you power through your session:
1. Whole grain toast, tablespoon of all natural peanut butter and sliced banana
2. Steel cut oats or rolled oats (higher in fiber and lower in sugar than the pre-packed oats), mix with water, skim milk or unsweetened almond milk and add some fruit such as berries or bananas.
3. Smoothie (try blending 1 frozen banana, 2 cups baby spinach, 1 tbsp. peanut butter, 3//4 cup unsweetened almond milk, ½ cup fat free Greek yogurt
4. Apple slices with Almond butter
What you eat post workout is also important because the muscles are repairing. Help that process by consuming carbs and protein 30-60 minutes after your workout. Drink a lot of water as well. Sports drinks are not necessary and I only recommend them for workouts lasting longer than 90 minutes; food and water is sufficient for anything less than that.
Try some of these ideas post workout to help your muscles recover quickly so you can get back at it tomorrow:
1. Plain Greek yogurt (higher in protein than regular yogurt), topped with fresh fruit and walnuts
2. Cottage Cheese topped with fresh fruit (great with honey dew or cantaloupe) and almonds
3. Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with lots of veggies and 1 slice of light or low-fat cheese
4. Mixed green salad with lean protein such as grilled chicken or fish with olive oil and vinegar.
5. Trail mix (mix almonds, dark chocolate chips, whole grain cheerios, sunflower seeds & raisins) – serving size ¼ cup