If you are rolling out of bed into your gym clothes, and then out the door for an early morning workout, you’ll want to reach for something that is digested quickly (like a banana) or purely liquid (like coffee). “Coffee is a proven ergogenic aid (performance enhancer) and it’s not dehydrating like most people believe,” says sports nutritionist, dietitian and author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Nancy Clark. According the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, caffeine increases alertness, acts as a central nervous system stimulant, helps with mental sharpness, and decreases perceived exertion. While coffee alone gives you a boost, Clark says it’s important to eat something before a workout. “Five minutes before your work out, take a swig of orange juice or eat a banana otherwise your body will go into breakdown mode. Eating something will give you more energy and you’ll have a better workout.” If you are craving caffeine post-workout, go for a latte. “A latte gives you the combination of carbohydrate and protein,” says dietitian Sarah Currie. “If you are avoiding dairy, ask for almond or coconut milk.”
This ultimate comfort breakfast food is an ideal carbohydrate-rich pre-workout choice. It’s full of fibre (which helps you feel full), low in fat, and high in slow-digesting, blood sugar-friendly carbohydrates. Porridge’s soluble fibre – beta glucan – has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol. “If you want to burn fat, you need a hard workout, and you need some carbs to get you through the class,” says Currie. While porridge alone is ideal fuel for the average gym class, if you are working out for a longer period of time, Clark suggests adding some protein. “Swirl some peanut butter in your porridge.”
Eggs are an excellent recovery food and an ideal choice for a snack after a hard workout. They are high in protein (about six grams per egg) and low in fat (about 310 kilojoules). They also make you feel full and can assist with weight loss. Studies have shown that eating eggs for breakfast may help curb your appetite and reduce the amount of calories you consume for the next 24 hours. After a workout, have eggs with some form of carb such as toast or potatoes, but not bacon, says Clark.
Feeling fit? Bet you didn’t know your sweat can tell you a lot about your fitness and health.