More and more of us are hitting the gym during our lunch break and after work. The goals vary: keeping fit, losing weight, gaining muscle mass... But all these goals have one point in common: staying healthy. Let us bear in mind that this common goal includes an essential component that should not be neglected - food. Do not overlook this point.
How to be efficient all day long?
You need to structure your day.
- A healthy, balanced breakfast: When we wake up, we haven't had a full meal since the previous evening. Therefore energy reserves are at their lowest. For this reason, this meal is the most important of the day.
If you plan a sports session during your lunch break:
- A snack at 11am: During training, the body will use its resources, and if they are not sufficiently high, our muscle efficiency is reduced and we feel muscular fatigue, cramps and even hypoglycaemia.
- Light lunch after training: Intense physical activity often reduces appetite. However, the meal following exercise should cover 30% of daily calorie intake. It should not be overlooked.
If you plan a sports session after work:
- A snack at 4pm or 1h before your session: For reasons similar to the 11am snack.
- Dinner: Normally balanced meal.
Recommended reading: Sport and nutrition - 10 tips
What to snack on before exercising?
Having a snack is crucial before training. It fulfils the energy requirements of exercise and ensures you remain full until your next meal. In addition it will make all the difference during training.
Plan your snack 30 minutes before training.
Examples of snacks
- Cereals with or without milk
- Cereal bars
- Whole-grain bread and cottage cheese
Be careful, even though you may be trying to control your weight, this does not mean you should go without. This snack will be important to ensure an efficient workout. In such case, go for a protein bar or a protein drink. Protein products will make you feel full and help you wait until your next meal without feeling hungry. In addition they prevent loss of muscle mass when on a diet.
What is a light lunch?
After training, you have limited time. Often you have to eat quickly, which shouldn't prevent you from eating a balanced meal.
Here are a few examples which should help you eat quickly and avoid feeling bloated.
- Quiche and salad
- Mixed salad (rice, beetroot, tomatoes.)
- Grilled chicken breast
- Vegetables / rice
- Fruit salad
Don't forget to drink!
'Hydratation is essential to sustain efforts. You mustn't wait until you're thirsty in order to drink. Hydrating before, during and after workout is critical to prevent dehydration and make up for the mineral losses induced by exercise. Also remember that it's often pretty hot in the gyms, which promotes dehydratation.