There’s no denying the importance of a balanced diet paired with regular exercise when it comes to your wellbeing.
And while getting away from your desk and clocking up those steps are vital towards maintaining your health, the foods you eat before and after a workout are equally as important to ensure your body recovers and makes the most of the energy being burnt. Plus, good food is also crucial for maintaining good mental health – an added bonus!
So, we looked into the best foods to eat if you’re participating in a running or walking event such as South Australia’s Corporate Cup.
If you’re going for a particularly long run, it’s best to eat a carb-rich meal the night before… that’s right, carb-loading! Pastas, rice or quinoa with a protein and some veggies are a great choice.
On the Day
The food you eat before a workout is quite individual to you and what your body can handle; while your running partner eats oats 30 minutes before heading off for a jog, you might fare best with simply water in your stomach. It will also depend on the distance you’re tackling and the time of day!
If participating early in the morning (shortly after waking), you might not need to eat at all. Simply ensure you’re hydrated beforehand with water or a sugar-free sports drink.
However, if you wake up with time for breakfast or are participating later in the day, its best to eat a small to medium snack 1-2 hours before you take off – this will allow time for it to be digested and provide you with sustained energy throughout the event. This snack should include nutrient dense complex carbs like oats, a piece of fruit, low-fat dairy products, natural muesli bars or wholegrain toast with peanut butter.
After you’ve walked, jogged or run your way through the track, you should aim to eat within 1-2 hours to ensure your body is replenished while your muscles are recovering.
Aim to enjoy a meal quite high in carbohydrates – which restock your muscles’ energy source – and throw in some protein. A banana or apple with natural peanut butter, low-fat yoghurt, or a cereal bar are great options!
While the above are all great suggestions, it is most important that you listen to your body and keep your fluid levels up before and throughout the event.
What you need before exercising will undoubtedly vary for everyone. So, try a few different options and times of the day to find out what leaves you feeling your best before your feet pound the pavement.