FITNESS FUEL: Morning, Noon or Night
Morning, noon or night – no matter when you work out you want to be seeing results, right? If you’re gymin’ consistently but not reaping the results it might be down to your diet! Plenish nutritional therapist, Jenna Hope shares her guide to optimise your workouts through your diet.
There’s so much information on fuelling up for fitness online these days that it can become overwhelmingly confusing. You should be aware that this guidance isn’t a set ‘rule plan’, there’s no one size fits all and ultimately you should find foods you enjoy but which make you feel great. However, for those of you who want to optimise your workouts through your diet I’ve outlined below some meal and snack options depending on the intensity and the timing of your workout.
For the Early Riser
If you prefer to engage in low intensity morning exercise such as yoga or pilates then you don’t necessarily have to eat something beforehand. Following a low intensity workout, you’re best to opt for something light such as eggs and greens or a smoothie as a great on-the-go breakfast (I love making mine with the Plenish Cashew milk).
If you’re smashing your HIIT or heavy strength session before work you should ideally fuel up before. Banana or a small bowl of porridge to provide you with some glucose.
Following an intense session, you need to replenish your glycogen stores so load up on complex carbohydrates and ensure you’re refuelling with protein to promote optimal muscle recovery too. Breakfast examples include: porridge topped with some berries and nut butter, scrambled eggs on toasted rye bread or a fully loaded protein shake with banana, oats, peanut butter, plant-fuelled milks and a good quality protein powder.
For the Time Poor Noon Session
If you’re someone who likes to hit the gym at lunch time then I recommend having a bigger breakfast and a light morning snack such as an apple with nut butter, some nuts or even a date and nut bar or ball, homemade or bought (squirrel sisters are a great option). This will give you an extra boost just in-time for your lunch time workout. Following your session, go for something high in complex carbohydrates, protein and a range of vegetables. Vegetables are rich in antioxidants which can help to remove some of the free-radicals which are produced naturally as a result of intense exercise. A quinoa salad with tofu is a great post-workout lunch option as is a mixed bean salad or even a wholemeal wrap with hummus and mixed vegetables.
You might notice that your appetite increases as a result of your training session. Be prepared with an afternoon snack to help stabilise your blood sugar levels. Something high in protein and healthy fats will help to stabilise your blood sugar levels. Peanut butter or smashed avocado on rice or oat cakes are a great option at this time of the day.
For the Night Owls: After Work Classes
If an after-work class or workout is more your style I recommend snacking on a higher carbohydrate snack in the afternoon 1-2 hours before your workout. A light shake like Plenish almond milk, berries and spinach is perfect for this as they provide a perfect energy boost without leaving you with a full stomach pre-workout. Following your workout, a well-balanced dinner. E.g. mixed bean bolognaise over a jacket sweet potato, grilled tofu or fish with brown rice and veggies, a root vegetable frittata or even a tofu stirfry.
Finally, make sure you’re getting enough variety in your diet and surrounding your workouts to ensure you’re obtaining a varied micronutrient and amino acid profile.
For more on workout nutrition, click here.
For a pre-workout bit hit from our beetroot juice, click here.
To supercharge your smoothies with our plant-fuelled dairy-alternatives, click here.