For many, how and when we exercise is a direct response to what we eat. How so? It may be that we are working out in order to burn a specific amount of calories, say, from that burger at lunch. Or maybe we’re working out in the morning in order to indulge later on in the day.
It’s easy to have a one-track-mind when it comes to how we think about our relationship between food, our workouts and the effects that both have on our body. Nutritionists and physical trainers are stressing that what we eat PRIOR to a workout can be a key factor in how successful we will be in that workout. Foods packed with carbs and proteins can actually have distinguishable effects on the different types of workouts we may do. Here’s a look and how carbohydrates can improve your cardio and protein can improve your strength training activities.
Carbohydrates for Cardio
Whether you do short intervals of cardio (quick treadmill run, kickboxing, bike ride), or longer intervals of it (such as raining for a marathon, long-distance swimming, hiking) –– carbs give you the energy and fuel that your body needs to push harder, finish stronger, and last longer to complete your workout. For short bursts of exercise, only smaller snacks should suffice. It’s only when you get into more frequent and intense cardio workouts like HIIT that it will be beneficial to work more carbs into your meals and overall diet.
Protein for Strength and Resistance
Protein’s role in our workouts has always been a bit more straightforward. The healthy nutrient not only strengthens and ensures the health of the muscles we already have, but also promotes the building of new muscle. This makes it that much easier for us to actually benefit from any strength or endurance training we may do, and all it takes is adding a bit more meat, eggs, or protein shakes into our daily food consumption.