written on 5/26/2021 updated by Lauren Curl-Ferrell on June 23, 2021.
Photo by Alex Loupon via Unsplash
Are you still working out at home? Surveys suggest that many people are continuing their home workout sessions that they may have started at the beginning of the pandemic. With the shift from temporary to permanent routines, keeping motivation and energy for fitness can be challenging for some when you’re going it alone. To ensure you are still maximizing your results, focus on your pre and post-workout nutrition and hydrating even at home. Here are a few strategies to incorporate into your exercise routine at home.
Food is the fuel for our bodies just as gasoline is the fuel for a car. Pre-workout nutrition is super important for fueling your workouts; it's what gives your body the energy it needs to exercise at peak performance. Workouts at home often leave more time for a quick snack beforehand. This snack doesn’t have to be big. In fact, you probably don’t want it to be or you run the risk of not feeling so great. A 100 calorie snack consisting of mostly carbohydrates and eaten five minutes to an hour before a workout will help you perform better. Depending on exertion and intensity of your activity, you might need more calories and carbs to fuel your exercise.
- Trail mix with dried fruit and cereal
- Toast with jelly/jam
Post-workout nutrition is critical for recovery. Exercise, especially strength training, creates tears in your muscles that the body then has to repair; it is how you build muscle and get stronger. You can help refuel your muscles by eating a combination of protein and carbohydrates after your workout. Carbohydrates help replenish your energy storage in the form of glycogen, which get depleted during exercise, and protein helps repair and rebuild muscle. Your post-workout nutrition should consist of a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein.
- Chocolate milk is a great example of this because it has 3 times as many carbs as protein, but provides both to refuel and rebuild.
- For a dairy-free smoothie, combine nut or soy milk, a frozen banana, handful of greens, and a scoop of NB Pure’s Plant Protein+.
When should you eat after a workout?
If you are a recreational exerciser, you can have a snack 30 min to an hour after exercising or eat a meal within 3 hours of your workout. If you are a competitive athlete, your post-workout nutrition timing is more important for continued peak performance and recovery. Competitive athletes should eat/drink something right after working out that contains three times more carbs than protein to help replenish your muscles and aid in recovery.
Hydration is key for performance and recovery
Lastly, hydration should be top of mind before, during, and after exercise. Water is critical in so many of your body’s processes and it needs water to function properly. Dehydration also makes recovery more difficult, so make sure you are drinking enough water, especially if you sweat a lot during exercise. Hydration needs vary from person to person, so the best way to check if you are adequately hydrated is to examine the color or your urine. If it is a dark color, you need to drink more fluids; if it is a pale yellow, you are probably adequately hydrated. If you struggle with drinking enough water, try setting a timer every hour that reminds you to take a few sips!
Try these things for better workouts
Whether you’re back at the gym or still working out at home, pre and post-workout nutrition along with hydration can all help you workout harder and longer. Play around with the timing and sizes of your snacks to find what works best for you!