The best foods to boost your energy before a workout and help your muscles to recover after.
Fueling your body before, during, and after a gymnastics practice or competition is of great importance to an athlete. It’s pertinent to a gymnast’s longevity within the sport, and especially during competition season when there’s a lot more hard-landings involved, to be aware of the foods you’re eating. Food, when eaten correctly, can help boost your energy levels and help your muscles to recover.
Carbohydrates and protein will give you the most energy going into a workout and sustain you throughout. Make sure not to eat too much sugar or fatty foods before working out because they can slow down your digestion and make you feel sluggish.
A few food options before a workout include:
- Quick-digesting carbs.
- Granola with nuts, seeds, etc.
- Rice crackers with peanut or almond butter
- Hardboiled egg
- Low sugar and low-fat meals/ drinks.
- Plant based smoothie
- Dried fruit
- Brown rice
- Broiled chicken breast
It can be hard to eat during a workout but it’s important you grab a bite or two to keep up your energy levels. Eating during a workout, especially if your workout is over 60 min., can help you to rebuild and repair muscles as well.
Protein-based foods during a workout are great because protein will keep you energized without making you feel sluggish.
Also, remember to drink plenty of water. Your body loses water when you sweat and it’s important to keep drinking it, or eating foods that contain water, to avoid dehydration.
See how your energy levels are after trying out one of these protein-based snacks during your next workout:
- Edamame beans
- Whole almonds, cashews or walnuts
- Cottage cheese
- Hardboiled egg
Eating after gymnastics is especially important to muscle recovery. When you work out, your muscles are depleted of glycogen. After working out, your body tries to rebuild it. Eating protein and complex carbs will help your muscles to recover more quickly. Eating within 45 minutes of your workout also gives you the best chance at maximizing the benefit of your workout.
After your next workout try eating some of the below protein and carb options and see how you feel. Also note that it is not bad to eat some foods considered “fatty”. They won’t help in recovery the way protein and carbohydrates will, but it won’t have a negative effect either.
- Fat-free chocolate milk is great for athletes to drink after a workout. Chocolate milk has both protein and carbohydrates which help to rebuild and refuel weary muscles.
- Sweet potatoes
- Tuna salad (on whole-grain bread)
- Nut butter(s)
- Trail mix
We hope some of these suggestions will help you in choosing the best foods to fuel yourself with. We know everyone is different, and if you’re concerned about your energy levels or muscle recovery we advise speaking with your doctor or a nutritionist.
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