Working out is something you have always enjoyed doing, not just for the physical benefits but for your mental well-being too. Even if you’re in a good routine with your exercise, there are always ways in which you can support it and make even better progress. As you know, nutrition plays a huge role in the way your body functions and how you feel. So, it can also have a significant impact on the success of a workout too.
Whether you’re reducing your alcohol intake or exploring different carbohydrates, here are a handful of simple nutrition hacks that will support your body as you exercise.
Boost Your Protein Intake
It’s no secret that protein is one of the best types of food you can ingest before and after you workout. Good quality protein can not only help muscle recovery after a workout, but it can also provide an excellent fuel for your upcoming workout. Getting enough protein in your diet can often be difficult, especially if you require a lot as part of your allocated macronutrients. This is when you have to look at the benefits of liquid protein and the convenience of it. As well as being a quick, simple and portable solution to your protein needs, it’s also very easy to digest and absorb into your system. So, if you’re looking for speedy muscle growth and recovery, you may want to consider liquid protein as part of your day to day workout regime.
Reduce Alcohol and Sugar Consumption
It goes without saying that alcohol and sugar can really put a stop to your fitness progress and reduce your energy levels. Drinking alcohol can cause peaks and troughs in your blood sugar levels, as can consuming too much sugar. Your goal is to keep your levels as even as possible so that you can feel energized and perform at your very best no matter the time of day.
Opt for Complex Carbohydrates
It goes without saying that complex carbohydrates will always be better for you than white grains, bread and pasta. Try to opt for wholemeal flour options whenever you can as it has more nutrients to offer your body.
Drink Coffee or Tea Before a Workout
If you’re the type of person who reaches for a tea or coffee at the start of the day, you may not need to curb that habit at all. Consuming caffeine before a workout can actually help to improve your energy levels and boost your endurance, giving you the best possible fuel for your upcoming training session or exercise regime.
Adopt Mindful Eating Strategies
Overeating is extremely common these days, especially in a world where there are so many options available to you in terms of sugary and unhealthy foods. When it comes to eating mindfully, you should always try and remove any unnecessary distractions, such as your phone or the television. This will help you to think carefully about how full you are and allow you to actually enjoy the meal in front of you.
Filling your plate full of delicious fruits and vegetables is a surefire way to improve your workouts and make you feel more energized. It’s also a brilliant way to make yourself feel more satisfied and reduce cravings as you will feel fuller for longer. Fruits and vegetables also provide vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients that you can’t find in any other foods, so you should aim to eat the rainbow every single day.
Stay Hydrated At All Times
Hydration is a key component when you’re regularly working out, as you will need to restore the water in your body quickly and effectively. If you’re sweating a lot during a workout you need to replenish your water as you’re exercising and afterwards for the rest of the day. Purchase a reusable water bottle so that you can take it out and about with you and stay hydrated wherever you are.
Establish A Fitness Goal Before Trying Any Nutrition Hacks
There are a lot of things that you can do to maximize your workout. We've covered some of the most important ones but depending on your fitness goals, there are clearly going to be a bunch of other things you will want to consider.
Building Muscle Mass
Building lean muscle mass requires a careful balance of increasing calories while also training the muscles by stressing them so that the body can allocate that nutrients being consumed to create muscle fibers rather than fat tissue.
- Protein Intake: Consuming enough protein is essential for muscle growth. Aim for 1.2 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
- Carbohydrate Timing: Eating carbs post-workout can help replenish glycogen stores and aid recovery.
- Healthy Fats: Include sources of omega-3 fatty acids like fish, flaxseed, and walnuts to support hormone production, including testosterone.
Losing Body Fat
While from the most simplistic perspective, losing fat is just about about reducing calorie intake, the reality is that this is a complex scenario that requires both reducing intake, while focusing on consuming foods that will provide energy to sustain bodily functions.
- Calorie Deficit: Create a sustainable calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than you burn.
- High Fiber Foods: Include whole grains, vegetables, and fruits to keep you feeling full.
- Hydration: Drinking enough water can help control hunger and aid in metabolism.
Becoming stronger is about more than simply building muscle mass. It's also about making those muscles able to perform better.
- Balanced Diet: Ensure a balanced intake of carbs, proteins, and fats to fuel workouts.
- Pre-Workout Nutrition: A combination of carbs and protein before a workout can provide energy and reduce muscle breakdown.
- Recovery Meals: Post-workout meals with protein and carbs can aid in recovery and strength gains.
Improving Cardiovascular Endurance
Endurance and stamina can be developed in parallel with building stronger muscles but it is cardiovascular endurance that will help you last longer in your workouts, do more reps in your weight lifting routine, and go farther in your cardio training.
- Carbohydrate Loading: For endurance events, consuming more carbs in the days leading up to the event can maximize energy stores.
- Electrolyte Balance: Stay hydrated with fluids that contain electrolytes during long workouts.
- Whole Foods: Focus on nutrient-dense whole foods that provide sustained energy.
Enhancing Flexibility and Mobility
Most men focus their workout time around improving strength or losing weight but flexibility is another popular objective that is critical to physical fitness. While improved flexibility might seem to be something more desirable for those practicing yoga - this can also help with elements of sports performance such as improving your golf swing or being able to be a better rock climber.
- Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Include foods rich in antioxidants like berries, turmeric, and green tea to reduce inflammation.
- Hydration: Proper hydration helps maintain joint lubrication and muscle elasticity.
- Micronutrients: Ensure adequate intake of vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin D and magnesium, for bone and joint health.
Maintaining General Health and Well-being
Finally, if your workout routine is more generally focused and you are simply looking to maintain general health and feel better - a more balanced approach is important to achieve your workout goals.
- Balanced Diet: Focus on a variety of nutrient-dense foods from all food groups.
- Mindful Eating: Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues to avoid overeating.
- Regular Meals: Eating regular meals and snacks can help maintain energy levels and prevent overeating later in the day.
Achieving fitness objectives requires a combination of proper training and nutrition. Tailoring your diet to your specific goals can provide the necessary fuel and nutrients to optimize performance, recovery, and overall health. Always consider consulting with a registered dietitian or nutrition professional to create a personalized plan that aligns with your fitness objectives and individual needs.
If you can adopt just a handful of the nutrition hacks mentioned above, you will soon notice a huge difference in your energy levels and the quality of your workouts. Whether you’re eating more mindfully or trying to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, there are so many positive changes you can make in order to improve your training. Getting the most out of every workout is important, because you will know that you’ve spent your time wisely and you’re getting the best possible result.