Food & Nutrition Science

Top Foods that Improve Your Workout

You know that exercise and food go hand-in-hand when you want to lose weight and build muscle. However, there are certain foods that work harder than others while you hit the gym. Add these fitness-boosting foods to improve your workout and regular eating plan for best results.

Foods for Post Workout Pain

You might have heard the saying ‘no pain, no gain’ but there’s no reason why you should suffer after an intense workout!

Eat foods that heal your inflamed muscles so that you can get on with the rest of your day.

  • One of these is pineapple. The refreshing fruit contains a substance called bromelain that is a natural anti-inflammatory and increases the rate at which your muscles heal after a gym session.
  • Another food source that heals exercise-related pain is protein because its amino acids help to heal injuries and any tissues that have been damaged. It’s therefore vital to eat some protein after a workout.

Increase Weight Loss

Some foods help you burn more calories because they boost your metabolism, so they’re worth eating if you need to accelerate your weight loss results.

  • Green tea is helpful because it contains catechins, antioxidants that increase the body’s metabolism, and caffeine which increases heart rate so that your body burns calories. 
  • Warming foods such as chili peppers, also help to increase your metabolism because they contain capsaicin. This compound makes your body temperature higher, which also takes your metabolism up a notch.
  • Vitamin C foods, such as yellow bell peppers, also affect metabolism. The body makes use of Vitamin C to produce carnitine, a molecule that makes muscles use fat as an energy source. Research has found that people with greater levels of Vitamin C in their blood displayed smaller amounts of body fat as well as lower BMI (body mass index) numbers. Vitamin C also processes protein so it’s an important nutrient to consume for muscle growth.


Foods that Give You an Extra Push for Optimal Performance

There’s nothing worse than having to stop your exercise routine halfway through because you don’t feel you can keep going. Top food picks that boost your energy are:

  • Natural foods containing nitrates, such as beetroots. They boost the body’s use of oxygen which can help you exercise for up to 16 percent longer. Other sources of nitrates are leafy green vegetables. To maximize their absorption, consume them in a liquid form, such as in a puree or juice.
  • Carbs! Although carbohydrates get a bad rap, not consuming them can negatively impact your workout. This is because carbs increase your energy. The catch, of course, is that you need good carbs (not the refined, processed kind!). Examples of good carbs are: steel-cut oats because they contain carbs which get digested slowly, helping you avoid hunger or a loss of energy during your workout. Steel-cut is also better than rolled oats as it has undergone less processing, maintaining its nutrients.

An apple or banana with peanut butter is also a good snack option as you get a great blend of carbs and proteins to fuel your exercise session from start to finish.

Don’t Let Digestion Get in the Way

While eating before a workout is important, you don’t want to eat too much as this can cause your body to battle with digestion, zapping the energy you need for a successful workout session. That’s why foods that are easy to digest, such as kefir, are so valuable.

Kefir is an easily-digested fermented food that is a complete protein source. The added bonus of kefir is that it’s good to consume before night-time exercise as it contains tryptophan. This amino acid, which is also found in turkey, calms the body, so you won’t feel wired after a session.

Food plays an important role in your fitness regime. Include the above workout-boosting foods to stay stronger, healthier, and achieve your fitness goals.


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