We all know to build the best body we can, we need to exercise and eat healthy. While exercise is a good thing, it can also be demanding and exhausting on a body. Exercise puts stress on muscles, tendons and joints and breaks down muscle tissue. Too much exercise can cause your body to generate a response to inflammation to repair damage and cause you to feel fatigue. If you are a weekend warrior, amateur or professional athlete, or just engage in strenuous exercise, your body needs specific nutrition before and after workouts to prepare and to recover. The best way to eat healthy and help your body get the most from exercise and training is by eating whole foods. Here are some of the best body foods to add to your diet if you are engaging in strenuous exercise.
Eat Healthy Before Exercise
Your body uses food to fuel itself and make energy. Good nutrition is essential to have the energy levels to engage in sustained workouts and training. The best body foods for exercise are those that will keep blood sugar levels stable, keep a steady stream of energy available rather than foods that give you a quick energy burst and then fizzle out and that build strong muscles, bones and connective tissues.
Fruits and Veggies
Vegetables and fruits are a must for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Raw fruits and vegetables have the most nutrition as cooking causes food to lose nutrients and enzymes. Sprouted foods such as clover, broccoli, alfalfa and radish sprouts are easy for the body to digest and are packed with protein, enzymes and antioxidant power. Cherries and cherry juice are very high in antioxidant properties and are one of the best fruits not only before workouts but for recovery after. Research on runners drinking tart cherry juice two times a day every day had a decrease in muscle pain after long distance running. Bananas are another good fruit for before workouts and for recovery after workouts. They are a rich source of potassium and vitamin B6 and help keep blood sugar levels low. Sweet potatoes, also high in antioxidant value, give athletes potassium, iron, manganese and copper necessary for strong muscles and helps keep blood pressure levels low.
Complex Carbs and Fiber
For the best body you can have for exercising, lean proteins, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates are also necessary fuel sources. That means eating grains high in soluble fiber like oatmeal which also has lots of protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and maintains a steady supply of fuel for energy. Chia seeds are also loaded with antioxidants and are very high in fiber. Adding Chia seeds into your diet also provides protein, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids without adding a lot of calories to your meals. Kale is not only high in fiber, but also rich in carotenoids and flavonoid antioxidants and has been reported to regulate inflammation in the body.
Protein and Healthy Fats
Protein, amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids are all crucial in muscle building as well as for repairing damage done to muscles through exercise. Salmon is an excellent choice to add to the diet as it not only is a rich source of protein but also is high in omega-3 fatty acids, is a heart healthy food, has selenium and vitamins B6 and B12. Whey protein isolate is another great source of protein for athletes as it has all the needed essential amino acids and the body digests and absorbs it quickly. This powdered protein based shake mix not only has the protein power of pure organic whey, but also wild bluegreen algae, sprouts and protein digesting enzymes for a quick and easy way to get 22 grams of protein in each serving at home or on the go.
Best Body Foods After Exercise
After your body goes through a strenuous workout, it can be left depleted of fluids and electrolytes, fatigued and with muscle tissue and red blood cells broken down. Eating healthy within the first 30 minutes after a workout is important for helping your body recover from exercise and keeping it in shape for future exercise. After working out is the time to eat protein to repair damage to muscle tissue, re-hydrate for several hours after intense workout to replace the fluids and electrolytes you have sweated out, boost your immune system to deal with needed repairs to the body and eat carbohydrates to restore glycogen and glucose levels.
Bananas are good for before workouts, but also after workouts as they help restore electrolytes and have vitamin B6 with anti-inflammatory properties. Cherries are another fruit that is a good choice for before and after workouts. Its anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants make it a good recovery food after heavy exercise. Pumpkin and squash seeds give you iron, fiber, healthy fats and protein that can help replace red blood cells that take oxygen to muscle tissue and help prevent fatigue. Brazil nuts are a good source of protein, healthy fats, B vitamins, selenium and magnesium that support immune system function and help repair bones and the connective tissues. Eating protein and carbohydrates together allows muscles to repair faster and restores glycogen levels which makes milk a great food for after working out as it is a good source of both and helps restore electrolytes. Yogurt and fish are other good protein food choices for after workout. Some experts recommend eating small amounts of carbs every half hour for up to 3 hours after working out to bring glycogen and glucose levels back up. Beets are another good after workout food as they have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and carbohydrates to help keep energy levels up.
Before and After Exercise Supplements
Your body needs the whole food nutrition we’ve talked about so far if it is going to be engaging in strenuous workouts and exercise. But we also know that busy schedules sometimes make this difficult. This is when whole food supplements can be a good solution. This supplement program was designed especially for high-performance athletes and those with active lifestyles and has convenient packets of supplements included for before workout and after workout. With whole food ingredients such as wild organic AFA bluegreen algae, wheatgrass juice, green tea, noni, edible mushrooms, glucosamine, chondroitin and plant-based proteolytic enzymes, these supplements give you the antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrition, joint support, and all the omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, minerals and nutrition the body needs to support it before strenuous exercise and after. No reason to skip the nutrition you need just because you are on the run.
If you are going to be engaging in intense training or workouts or just have an extra busy and physically demanding lifestyle, give your body the nutrition it needs to build your best body naturally and support it through the extra physical demands you are putting on it. Just by being aware of the special nutritional support your body needs under these conditions and adding certain foods before working out and after, you can stay strong and active and make sure you will be in good shape to enjoy future workouts.