One of the main reasons why you are doing aerobic exercises (such as running, cycling, swimming, etc.) is to lose weight and improve your fitness. To maximize the results you get from aerobic workouts, you should pay attention to the foods you eat before and after the workout. The primary reason is that the foods you eat are the primary fuel during the workout as well as its important during the post workout recovery.
Aerobic exercise is a type of workout targeting around 70% to 80% of maximum heart rate. The primary fuel for your skeletal muscles is a mixture of fats and glycogen (stored carbohydrates in your muscle) burned using oxygen (it is why it’s called aerobic).
The oxygen is transported from the lungs to your skeletal muscles via the haemoglobin (red blood cells). During workout, you are going to sweat that removes a substantial amount of water and electrolytes in your body. These electrolytes are sodium and potassium. Aerobic exercise is one of the best fat burning exercises. Aid with proper nutrition, you can replace these fats with muscles so that your shape would look great.
Knowing the aerobic processes as discussed above, you will know the best foods to eat. The objective is to stay as energetic during the workout and helps restore the lost energy quickly after the workout. These are the following and why they are important:
1.) Rice + any meats (protein rich)
These are good sources of carbohydrates and protein which will be used by body to replenish glycogen stores after the workout. Eating carbohydrates together with protein speed up the glycogen replenishment as shown in the â€œJournal of Applied PhysiologyÂ [PDF warning]â€ study in 2002. Example of protein rich meat sources are chicken, pork, lean beef, etc. It is best to eat this early after any aerobic exercise. If you are working out almost daily, it is highly recommended that you would be following this diet.
2.) Banana + Water
This fruit is one of the reliable sources of potassium and complex carbohydrates. Potassium can be rare to find and banana is a good source of this mineral. This is good to eat before and after any aerobic exercise. A good example is the early morning run where you normally have an empty stomach.
Eating banana and water prepares your body with the necessary minerals to fuel your aerobic workout. If you like to eat some foods before you do any aerobic exercise, simply pick a banana and drink some water 1 to 2 hours before any exercise. Also after a long exercise, you lost a lot of potassium by sweating; you can include some bananas in your post workout recovery meal such as rice and meat.
3.) Canned sardines
Canned sardines are also great to be included as a post workout recovery meal and alternative to meats. This also contains some proteins and some very important minerals like sodium (lost by sweating), calcium (bone strengthening) and iron (boost haemoglobin production).
Milk is one of the best foods to eat before you sleep. Make it a habit to drink a full glass of milk 2 to 3 hours before you plan to sleep. This will not only help you sleep better but a very important post-workout recovery drink. Milk is rich in protein and calcium which are vital in muscle repairs and strengthening of your bones.
Your body is at the optimum peak for muscle repairs/recovery and bone strengthening while you sleep. Make sure you sleep at least 7 to 8 hours a day if you are engaging in daily aerobic exercise that last more than 30 minutes.
5.) Liver + Orange Juice
Sounds odd, but this is the best source of iron. The role of orange juice (which is rich in Vitamin C) is to help your body to better absorb the iron content you eat. It is advisable to include this in your meal not more than 2 to 3 meals a week in moderate amounts (because overdosing in iron is also not good).
If you are engaging in frequent workouts (6 days a week of aerobic exercise), you need to boost up your haemoglobin production if you are having some issues associated with iron-deficiency related anaemia. The most important mineral for manufacturing haemoglobin is iron. Remember that your red blood cell carries the oxygen from your lungs to your skeletal muscles. If you are a person with anaemia (low red blood cell count); you will feel light-headedness during the latter part of the workout which can affect the performance.