Eating Before and After Exercise

I was recently asked by someone what they should eat after working out. Fitness instructors are highly encouraged not to give dietary advice since we are certified in fitness and not nutrition. I will however offer some general advice on eating before and after exercise. Please remember, however, that it is best for you to get specific advice from a dietician.

The Glycemic Index (GI) is good to use as a guideline for eating prior to and after working out. The GI is a ranking that measures how much a certain carbohydrate elevates blood sugar above normal. Foods low on the GI are known as slow digesting carbohydrates. They provide a prolonged, sustained entry of glucose into the bloodstream. This means that they supply long lasting fuel to power you through your workout. These foods make good pre-exercise snacks. Some examples of foods low on the GI are:
-apples, oranges, or another medium piece of fruit
-raw carrots
-cup of cooked oatmeal
-small sweet potato
-2 slices of whole wheat bread

Foods high on the GI are released more quickly into the blood and also referred to as fast digesting carbohydrates. They are better for recovery and refueling after exercise. It is recommended that you eat at least 50 grams (200 calories) of a high or moderate glycemic carb as soon as possible after exercise. Two hours later you should eat another 50 grams of a high glycemic carbohydrate. Some example of these foods are:
-plain baked potato
-20 ounce Gatorade
-slice of plain angel food cake
-cup of sorbet
-2-3 slices of white bread

Foods high in electrolytes (minerals like potassium, calcium, and sodium) are important for recovery after prolonged exercise that lasts 2 or more hours. Good choices for these kinds of foods are:
-low fat yogurt
-orange juice

I hope this will help you next time you exercise and are trying to figure out what to eat!

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