To take care of your body and your health, it is recommended to do 30 minutes of physical exercise per day. But before going for a jog or an intensive zumba class, you have to eat properly. If it is not advisable to play sports on an empty stomach, certain foods are however to be avoided… What should or should not be swallowed before exercising? And after ?
Should I drink and/or eat before sport?
“Studies are unanimous on this subject: performance is better when physical activity is preceded by a meal”announces the French Federation of Cardiology in its article “What should you eat before sport?”.(Source 1). If eating before sport is recommended for better performance, you can also do without it for exercise on an empty stomach.
Should I also drink before sport? The answer is yes. “It is very important to drink enough before, during and after the effort to prevent dehydration, allow nutrient transport and reduce the risk of injury. Water serves in particular as a lubricant between the different tissues.notes the Federation.
Drinking helps compensate for water loss due to perspiration, which can be very important depending on the intensity and duration of the exercise, the temperature and the humidity of the air. Uncompensated, they can have dramatic repercussions on performance and health.
Except in the event of very prolonged effort, water is enough. Otherwise, you can opt for energy drinks adapted to the energy, vitamin and mineral needs of the athlete. You can drink water two to three hours before a sports session, always in small sips, up to 10 minutes before the sessions.
Ysabelle Levasseur, dietitian-nutritionist, recommends “eat complex carbohydrates”,in order to “to feed” muscles used during exercise. so you can eat pasta, rice, cereal to replenish your energy at noon.
She also advises the absorption of“simple carbohydrates”, found in:
- Compotes without added sugar;
- fresh fruit, like apricot, rich in potassium, iron, copper and magnesium, orthe banana. The latter is moreover “the fruit of the sportsman, because it is digestible and neutralizes the acidity of the stomach”, says the dietitian.
On the meal side, we put a high-starch, moderate-protein diet to be in shape during training. If your sports session takes place between snack and dinner, remember to swallow “a slice of wholemeal or semi-wholemeal bread for its fiber, protein, mineral intake and its more interesting glycemic index than that of white bread”, advise the dietitian. Those who are gluten intolerant can opt for chestnut bread, which is rich in potassium.
Foods rich in antioxidants for bodybuilding
Blueberries, rich in antioxidants (particularly vitamin C) are recommended for bodybuilding, as they can help the muscle fiber to regenerate. The role of antioxidants is to protect cells by stopping the harmful action of free radicals, generated when the body is under stress, which is the case during sport, and in particular bodybuilding. Other foods rich in antioxidants include brightly colored fruits rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C (red fruits, carrot, apricot, red pepper, mango…). You will find Vitamin E in nuts, almonds, avocado, wheat germ…
When to eat before sport?
The best solution to be in good shape during training: eat three to four hours before exercise to give the body time to digest the meal. Indeed, it is better to prevent the digestive system from working during the activity!
Except that professional life does not always adapt to this need. Finding the right schedule to optimize performance depends on each athlete. The main thing, recalls Nicolas Sahuc, is to do not shift the natural rhythm of the body.
“No need to anticipate his hunger. Wait until it is felt before having a meal, otherwise you risk not eating properly,” he advises.
Corn how to manage your hunger in an emergency a few minutes before training? The dietitian recommends opting for “Easily digestible and absorbable products such as compotes, exercise drinks or a small cereal bar. These foods break the feeling of hunger without overloading the body.” A little patience is needed to learn to recognize the body’s signals and find what works best for us.
“Avoid eating nuts, which are fatty and can slow stomach emptying, creating digestive discomfort. Dried fruits, which are high in carbohydrates, may cause a mid-workout crash or stomach-related digestive upset. ‘water absorption’, he adds, however.
What to eat for breakfast before a workout?
breakfast question, choose foods with a low glycemic index to burn calories and especially more fat.
- It is recommended to have a good intake of protein, which slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, and are useful for the functioning of muscle mass. You can eat a slice of ham or a hard-boiled egg, for example;
- It is recommended to have a contribution in cereals, the body’s true fuel. We turn to bread, rusks, pasta, rice or semolina (yes yes, at breakfast!). Muesli can be a good alternative.
To note : the egg is food “star” of the athlete’s breakfast. It is a very interesting protein intake (a whole egg provides about 7 grams of protein) and is not at all sweet. In addition, you can decline the recipes to infinity! Hard-boiled egg, fried, scrambled, with vegetables, pancakes, in the form of a high-protein omelet…
What foods to avoid before exercise?
Ysabelle Levasseur takes stock of foods to avoid, like “foods that are too fatty and/or too sweet or industrial dishes”. The nutritionist also advises not to overeat “so that it is not counter-productive”. This way you will avoid “the inconveniences, such as nausea, linked to too long digestion”. Finally, consider chew your food well to aid digestion.
“Whether it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’ fats, it is best to limit their consumption before sports activity”, supplements the French Cardiology Federation (Source 1). Lipids need a relatively long time to be digested and “digestion is therefore likely to continue during physical exercise and cause serious gastric discomfort”.
In addition, bad fats or saturated fatty acids stiffen the arteries which, on the contrary, must remain elastic to bring oxygen to the muscles.
The French Federation of Cardiology also warns on one point (Source 1): “the meal preceding intense physical activity is certainly not an opportunity to try new foods, not even to choose foods that are used to causing discomfort such as legumes, crucifers which can ferment and cause bloating, but also spicy or caffeine-rich foods.
Another tip: avoid sweet snacks before a workout, which raises blood sugar far too high. This is where the crash (hypoglycemia) occurs during exercise.
On the drink side, coffee, tea and sodas, like all drinks containing caffeine, must be limited because they can dehydrate us when we exceed a certain dose.
What meal after a sports training?
It is not always easy to choose the menu after a sports session, but the body does need to be nourished. Whether you are a fan of yoga, running, tennis or the weight room, the feeling of hunger always ends up waking up. You might as well prepare to avoid making bad choices and to stay in good shape.
To recover well after a sports session, favor “recovery foods such as milk, fruits, vegetables and almonds”explains Ysabelle Levasseur.
“Immediately after exercise, I recommend taking carbohydrate-rich fruit, such as banana, apricots, grapes or blueberries. You can also eat protein foods like dairy products, which will provide the body with the amino acids lost during exercise,” she advises.
Protein intake after exercise is especially indicated “in the event of an intense weight training session or when the training sessions are very close together”,as Canadian dietitian Tristaca Caldwell suggests, interviewed by the Best Health Mag site (Source 2).
Ysabelle Levasseur also offers a gourmet milk recipe, composed of 125 to 250 ml of semi-skimmed milk, a teaspoon of defatted and unsweetened cocoa powder, accompanied by half a banana to fill up with nutrients.
On the hydration side, if you exercise for more than an hour, and especially if you sweat a lot, you can consume a energy drink. Very popular with athletes, it contains electrolytes which will compensate for the loss of sodium and potassium lost in perspiration. If your activity requires less effort, or is short, you can simply drink water.
“It is important to stay hydrated and consume carbohydrates within 30 minutes of exercise”believes Tristaca Caldwell (Source 2), in order to help the body assimilate the nutrients it needs.
Morning athletes jump out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off, put on their trainers and go train, while evening athletes reach their energy peak after their day’s work. Nutrition and sports expert Cynthia Sass, interviewed by Health magazine (Source 3) gives some meal ideas that provide protein and good fats without weighing down the stomach.
- Prepare a portion of classic hummus or a lentil-based version and accompany it with a few slices of raw vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers or any seasonal vegetable you like;
- Mix a small portion of fresh salmon with a handful of spinach and a spoonful of tapenade. To make the mixture even tastier, add a few leaves of romaine lettuce;
- A handful of chickpeas, a spoonful of olive oil and a pinch of salt enough to replenish nutrients. Broil in oven or pan until golden brown;
- Prepare a salad made with hard-boiled eggs and chopped vegetablessuch as cabbage or zucchini, and season everything with a spoonful of pesto;
- Five or six thawed shrimp go perfectly well with a serving of guacamole. Just avoid over-spicing this dish, as some spices can affect sleep.
Digestion time: can you exercise after eating?
Overall, it is advisable to leave time between when you eat and when you practice physical activity. It is advisable to wait between 1 hour and 1h30 between the time of the snack and the start of the sports activity. If it’s a meal, we even wait 2 or 3 hours. We must allow time for our digestive system to work.