I don’t know about you but I love food! That’s all good because it is highly recommended eating before and after your body conditionning. Pre-workout fuel is as essential as post-workout food.
Training on an empty stomach is only a good idea if you want to loose a lot of extra weight. If that is your goal, then it is best to schedule your workout routine early in the morning before breakfast. Otherwise, don’t train being hungry, you will end up lacking energy to finish!
BUT what if waking up at 6am to exercise on an empty stomach is just not going to be part of your plan anytime soon? That is my case! I still want to reap the fat burning benefits from my hard training efforts. I want the best results!
So, what to eat before and after a barre workout? Please note that it depends on your own personal workout goals, the intensity level of your exercising as well as the time of the day you train. We all run on different schedules and have distinct needs, body types and metabolisms, so what works for me may not work for you.
Before my barre training, I avoid:
- “Healthy” labeled fruit juices, cereals and granola bars that are loaded with natural sugars. Yes, “natural sugars” is still sugar intake and it interferes with the fat burning process.
- High in sugar products such as cookies, cake, sports drinks etc… that boost up your energy but it quickly fades away. Refined foods cause a spike in your blood sugar levels.
- I avoid eating a big meal to prevent any stomach digestive discomfort such as acid reflux and gastrointestinal problems. I also feel very sleepy after a large meal.
What to eat before your barre workout?
When possible, it is best to eat light, choosing food that is easy to digest. Then, I wait at least 30 up to 60 minutes before I workout.
When I consume a full heavy meal, I wait 2 to 3 hours. I like taking a walk because it helps with digestion by getting the food moving quicker through the system.
Proteins (eggs, nuts, yogurt, cheese, white and red meat) are crucial for muscle repair and growth. Exercising creates tiny tears in all the sculpting muscles in movement.
Healthy fats (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil) make you feel full longer and are an important energy source. However, as mentioned earlier, I keep my portion light and easy to digest. No high-fat meals before your workout. Your body digest fats slower than carbohydrates. Too much fat won’t convert into energy fast enough for your training.
Carbs are our body’s favorite energy source. Quality healthy carbohydrates such as whole wheat foods (pasta, rice and bread) will sustain you throughout your fitness training. As mentioned earlier, bad carbs like white sugar, fruit juices and refined foods such as white bread, are bad for your overall health because they are very low in essential nutrients and turn into fat. The key is your portion size. I try to keep it to 1 cup of carbs each meal.
Tip: if you don’t like whole wheat pasta, cook your white pasta “al dente”! In fact, eating when it is still firm (no longer crunchy), your body slowly digests it and it steadily releases energy. When it’s overcooked, it’s like consuming pure sugar!
Of course, what I eat depends on the time of the day I exercise. I work full time 5 days a week. During work days, I exercise in the morning and during the week-end, I workout late afternoons usually before diner. It can change, depending on what is planned on week-ends.
When I workout in the morning
I am not a big hearty breakfast eater. During the week, I have a cup of coffee with some milk (a café latte), 2 of my favorite organic whole wheat chocolate covered cookies and some fruit such as an apple, kiwi or banana.
Last year, I used to work at night. So on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I was able to go to ballet class around noon. I would eat lunch afterwards. Beforehand (30 minutes before), I would eat a banana and a handful of nuts such as almonds or cashews. Bananas are an excellent source of healthy carbs that would help me keep up in intensity and nuts are healthy fats and a valuable source of proteins.
If you plan to workout at lunchtime, opt for a hearty breakfast with complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins such as oats, a protein shake or scrambled eggs. Keep hydrated!
When I workout in the evening, I make sure I eat a balanced meal at lunchtime that includes:
- A complex carbohydrate that helps manage blood sugar spikes: whole wheat pasta, rice, bread.
- Healthy fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado.
- Quality proteins: eggs, beans, chicken/beef.
- Vegetables that provide the vitamins and minerals I need.
What to eat after your barre training?
After a workout, we need to re-fuel and recover! I congratulate myself by providing my body with some well-deserved food. It’s the ideal time to eat. Do NOT skip eating after your workout thinking that you will burn more calories. Muscles consume the most glucose after a body conditioning.
Recovery post-workout food:
- Raises your calorie burn rate.
- Increases your metabolism.
- Increases your gain in lean muscles.
Protein is the key to fixing all the small tears created in our muscles after a workout. I grab a handful of nuts to eat just after my workout and I make sure I have a rich healthy balanced meal later on, once at home.
Don’t skip drinking water and eating water-rich foods!! Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day is vital. Dehydration decreases your performance by around 10%. When I was a child, I was very sportive and I remember getting cramps occasionally. I found out later that it was due to dehydration and lack of magnesium. I included more magnesium in my diet by taking a magnesium supplement.
What about you? What do you eat before or after your workout? Please share below your thoughts and experience on the subject!
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