If you go to the gym it is because you have decided to lead a healthy lifestyle. Surely your food should be low in fats and sugars. But many times, when it comes to exercising, we don’t know what is best to eat before or after sport. Therefore, in this article, we’ll tell you what is the best diet routine while going to the gym.
Taking care of our diet if we are active people can help us increase performance, define muscles, or lose weight. In addition, Ido Fishman says that it is very important to always remember that feeding ourselves with enough nutrients, antioxidants, and calories to avoid fainting when exercising is key.
The importance of a healthy nutrition
A healthy diet, that is, an adequate supply of nutrients to our body is of importance to our health. A healthy diet is not just a diet that gives our body the adequate amount of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), but also diets that have healthy source.
A very simple example of this would be comparing avocado with a package of sausages: while avocado has unsaturated fats (linolenic acid and linoleic acid) that help in reducing cholesterol levels, the sausages that we sell in Packages in supermarkets are a source of saturated fat and do just the opposite: they help increase cholesterol levels and are therefore active factors in health problems such as obesity and overweight.
Both foods are sources of fats, but while the former is part of what we call “real food”, the latter falls into the group of ultra-processed foods, so it is not a good source of nutrients.
What is the best diet routine while going to the gym? This is one of the most frequent questions that we all ask ourselves when going to practice some type of physical activity . Since food is the basic energy that our body will use to carry out all the exercises, it is important to choose foods that are the most suitable.
Under no circumstances, experts advise, should you stop eating, not even if you want to lose weight. It is not advisable to start doing sports, especially if it is intense, without considering what, how and when to eat.
As mentioned earlier, more important than the physical exercise that we do or the routine that we follow in the gym is the diet that we take, since the contribution of nutrients will be what provides us with the necessary energy.
Let’s begin by discussing general diet routines that you should observe while going to the gym.
- More carbohydrates than protein
In general, you should get between 45% and 65% of the calories from carbohydrates (it is calculated that the diet of a normal person of about 2,000 calories a day should have between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates).
Between 25% and 35% should come from fats and between 10% and 35% from protein. If carbohydrates are so highly recommended, it is because they have the advantage that they burn very fast, much more than protein, and provide good doses of the essential fuel for exercise.
Foods rich in carbohydrates provide glycogen, a polysaccharide that stores glucose, especially in the liver, but also in the muscles. When the body needs an emergency energy supply, glycogen is converted back to glucose and supplies energy. The content in the muscles acts when contraction occurs during exercise.
A healthy and balanced diet provides the necessary doses of carbohydrates, and if you do not exercise more than 50 minutes a day, which is the most common, rarely will you burn more than 500 calories, and in that case, it is not necessary to add extra carbons to the diet.
- Easy to digest liquids and foods
You might have to avoid saturated fats and some types of protein that are slowly digested and consume too much oxygen and energy when processing them. If you cannot afford a delicious breakfast if you go to the gym in the morning, you can substitute fruit, such as banana or apple.
The key is that they are easily digestible carbohydrates, so as not to feel heavy in the stomach. Eating helps maintain the concentration of glucose in the blood that will allow better results and a faster recovery.
When you are done, you should take something, because the blood supply maintains a high level of hormones that contribute to muscle development, such as testosterone for example, between 15 and 30 minutes after exercise, and it is a good time to restore the energy consumed with something that is absorbed in a short time.
- Drinking water, crucial to optimize results
During practice, it is essential to constantly hydrate yourself. If it lasts three-quarters of an hour or less it is all that is required. When you play sports for a longer time you have to eat regularly.
Bars, fruit, and other carbohydrate-rich foods can be consumed, although liquids are the easiest to digest and the least heavy on the stomach. After exercise, it is also convenient to control what is taken, always depending on the time and intensity with which you have worked.
Feeding before, during and after
Those who spend several hours a day doing sports, and very intense, the recommendation is to add between 50 and 100 calories per hour. Another more precise way of calculating it is between 1 and 4 grams of hydrates for each kilo of weight (to get an idea, half a banana would be equivalent to about 27 gr). Skimmed yogurt or fruit is a good option. Enough to maintain accurate energy levels.
There is a myth that it is not convenient to eat shortly before going to the gym or within half an hour after finishing. It’s not like that. At least that’s what the United States College of Sports Medicine says when it recommends taking solid and liquid foods before, after, and during exercise. If nothing is ingested in the previous hours, it is as if gasoline were not put to the car, they explain.
You don’t have enough energy to get the most out of exercise, and your ability to burn calories is limited. In that case, the body will pull the glycogen from the muscles to provide the fuel needed for exercise, which will cause it to run out soon and the body to absorb body fat for energy.
The consequence can be ketosis, the origin of various ailments, which can even affect the kidneys. Hydration with water is basic. And to eat, whole grains with skim milk or soy, oat, almond; whole toast, skimmed yogurt, pasta, brown rice, fruit, and vegetables are other possibilities.
- What to eat before gyming?
Eating before the gym must ensure a good supply of nutrients and energy to maintain training. Before a directed class or using the machines in the gym, we must control our diet well and not binge on food.
Foods in small quantities are perfect, but they contain the vitamins necessary to nourish us. An example is nuts, which have healthy fats, oatmeal with milk, yogurt, or fruit such as a banana.
Before going to the gym it is better to avoid foods rich in fat or sugar. If you come from eating a large meal, forget that day at the gym or go when at least 2 hours have passed after eating.
- What to eat after gyming?
After physical exercise, it is necessary to replenish ourselves with good protein intake, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Once we have finished training, we need to hydrate quickly and eat slowly.
We can start with fruit and also nuts, and then make a somewhat more complete meal, based, for example, on fish, rice salad, pasta with seeds and tomatoes, dairy, meat, eggs, and protein shakes.
It is the moment to take protein and not to take excess fats or otherwise, in order to recover everything that we have lost in the gym.
We will surely be very thirsty, so water will be our best option against dehydration. Although there are some isotonic drinks, which without ever abusing them, can restore us to our great physical activity.
Should you ingest something at the end of the training?
Between 1 and 4 hours post-exercise and to take advantage of the metabolic window, it is important that intake of carbohydrates and protein is made, having some food with a high glycemic index such as skimmed milk or juice to promote protein retention.
The ideal balance is 3: 1 or 4: 1 with 1 g / kg of carbohydrate weight and 0.3 g / kg of protein weight. In other words, an athlete who weighs 75 kg should ingest 75 g of carbohydrates and 22 g of protein at the end of their training.
You could do this with:
a glass of skimmed milk 250 ml.
80 g bread with 3 slices of turkey or ham.
serving of fruit.
natural fruit juice.
80 g bread with 2 medium cooked eggs.
skimmed yogurt (2).
Another option to ingest after the session of strength and muscular development is a recovery shake with these proportions of carbohydrates and protein, that is, 3: 1 or 4: 1. In this case, the hydrolyzed whey protein (known as hydrolyzed whey ) is better than specific amino acids, this protein is very rich in essential amino acids and is characterized by a rapid release of these in the intestine.
Digestion of this type of protein is faster and more efficient and therefore, more beneficial than soy or casein protein. However, it must be borne in mind that the consumption of supplements must be controlled, being aware of the amount of energy they provide.
Likewise, it is not always necessary to take carbohydrates and protein in the form of a supplement, but it can be done and it is even recommended that it be done with natural foods, as well as taking carbohydrates and protein through the Diet is sufficient, so supplements are not necessary or have any benefit.
But, it is also true that if you train several times a day or if at some point it is not feasible to take it in the form of food, in these cases, supplementation with carbohydrates and protein will be recommended.
Most common mistakes of the novice in the diet that can be avoided
When we join the gym, we must not only plan our exercise routine, we must also take into account the changes we must make in our diet to achieve our goals since if, for example, we want to gain muscle mass and continue eating the same as we ate before, we ran the risk of not supplying enough energy to our body. Or conversely, if we want to lose fat and eat too much food, not only will we not lose, but we will accumulate more fat in our reserves.
Some of the most common mistakes beginners make are:
- Too high caloric deficit
When our goal in the gym is to lose weight, we have a maximum of calories that we can reduce without causing problems for our bodies. Reducing calories by around 10-20% is estimated to be the optimal amount so as not to cause too much of a deficit.
Drastically reducing the calories ingested may result in the dreaded ” rebound effect ” in the future, and when we abandon the diet we will regain all the weight loss and a few extra pounds.
- Exorbitant increase in calories ingested
To gain muscle mass, you must increase the calories ingested, and in the same way that for weight loss in this case there are also some reference values that we should not exceed.
A 10-20% increase in calorie intake ensures that we will increase mass by minimizing fat gain (gaining 100% clean muscle mass is an impossible mission, as we will always store a small amount in the form of fat).
- Trust everything to supplements
A major mistake that beginners can make with their diet is to trust the results of it to the consumption of certain supplements. Be it protein shakes, energy bars, fat burning, shakes to gain weight, etc … supplements are not a priority for a beginner.
Going to a professional who adjusts our diet well, calculating the amounts of food that we must consume and always watching to choose good sources of them, should be the only concern of beginners in terms of the diet section. This does not mean that we can find an exceptional case that for some pathology or special need we have to entrust a specific supplement.
- The danger of “cheat food”
If there is something that principally supposes to lose everything gained during the week in our diet, it is what we know as ” cheat food “, which is usually done more specifically in the cases in which we seek a loss of fat.
If during the week we are limited to a planned diet and weighed down to the details, on weekends many people incorporate in their diet a “cheat meal”, the sole purpose of which is to serve as an escape valve for the rigidity or suffering of diet and that many people also interpret as a “reward” for the effort made throughout the week.
As you may have imagined, cheat food consists of eating lunch or dinner that day what we want and in the amount we want. And this is where most of the rookies commit the greatest outrages with their food and throw away all the work done during the previous days. That we can eat what we want without weighing it does not mean that we give free rein to the monster that lives in our stomachs. We must keep a check.
And another added problem is that many people end up confusing “cheat food” with “cheat day”, and what occurs is overeating of food (in most cases ultra-processed) and an excessive accumulation of fat in our body. And the problem is that the line that separates the “cheat meal” from the uncontrolled feast is very thin, sometimes barely visible.
- Train on an empty stomach or after a binge
Training on an empty stomach, if we are pursuing the goal of losing fat can be counterproductive, since our body is receiving a limited supply of nutrients and this could cause a decrease in energy levels and not be able to perform in training.
- Fasting Training
On the contrary, training after a big binge can cause stomach discomfort, heaviness, heartburn … and thus a decrease in performance or even the inability to train.
- Mindlessly following false information on Social networks and media
We live in a time when practically any type of information is available to us on social networks or the media. However, what at first might be something favorable for us, in reality, it is not so much: sometimes because it is biased information or little contrasted, like that television channel in which a doctor affirmed the existence of a miraculous cure against obesity consisting of eating feces stools of thin people.
Many people make some common mistakes in their diet when entering the world of fitness and healthy living. We present some of them so that you can try to prevent them successfully.
Do not fall into these mistakes that beginners in the diet usually make when starting in the gym and eat healthily from the beginning of your physical activity to progress in the shortest possible time.
This article is brought to you by Ido Fishman