Proven tips for pre-workout and post-workout

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With the end of September, I hope you’ve found yourself in a great routine. I did more structured workouts and with that I thought of my best tips before and after training. And, this week I also have my favorite post workout snack recipe for you.

Food: What you eat before training can make a huge difference to how you feel while exercising. For me, that means eating something that will give me the energy I need as well as the protein I need to keep in reserve. The timing of my pre-workout snack is important, I aim for 1 to 2 hours before workout. This is something you should adjust based on your own needs and how you respond to pre-workout diet. I say this because I personally know that I have to be closer to two hours rather than one but, for others, an hour might be fine. Play around with this timing and take notes on what works best for you.

When choosing what food to eat, my advice is similar to the above, experiment with different options and find the foods that work best for you. Here are some examples of my favorite pre-workout foods:

* Small yoghurt pot with a handful of nuts

* A fruit smoothie with a handful of nuts

* A slice of wholemeal toast with a little butter and turkey / chicken

* A granola bar

* Oatmeal cakes with peanut butter and mashed bananas

Equipment: For me, there are really basic “equipment” needs for my workouts. The first is that my shoes are comfortable and fit for purpose, if I am going to be walking / running I like to wear shoes that are a bit more sturdy and rain resistant (I hate having soggy feet!) If it is a gym session I like fairly light shoes. The next area that I consider is clothing. Again, it depends on the activity. If it’s indoors I’ll wear lighter options, but if it’s outdoors I’ll wear clothes more suited to the weather conditions. Don’t underestimate the difference a good waterproof jacket makes to your workout if it’s outdoors. The last piece of equipment I’m going to mention is a watch. I like to track my steps and my heart rate, before training I like to make sure I have my watch on so I can look at my heart rate zones after training. I currently wear a Garmin Forerunner 45S, bought it from the Edge sports store in Cork.

Post-workout advice

Food: The way you refuel after your workout can make a huge difference in your post-workout recovery and ultimately in your ability to feel good. I aim to choose foods to help repair, recover, and build muscle. Post-workout timing can be tricky, so I consider the 45-minute to 90-minute window to be the best of times. I like when I can enjoy my main meal of the day in that window of time, but more often than not, it’s just not doable. Here are some of my post-workout foods to go:

* Milk with a banana and a handful of nuts

* Slice of bread with hummus

* Slice of bread with chicken, lettuce and cucumber

* Protein ball or bar (recipe below may be helpful)

Well-being tip

For some people, training with food in the stomach can be difficult – a protein shake is often a good solution. There are many good quality protein shake products on the market and it’s worth taking the time to choose one that works for you.

Movement of the week

Jogging is a great way to get moving and increase your heart rate. I know a lot of people don’t feel comfortable jogging, but if you can introduce a little jogging, it is extremely beneficial.

* Keep your head up, centered between your shoulders. Try to avoid looking down (be careful with the surface of the floor though)

* Keep your gaze in front of you and avoid slouching your shoulders

* Keep your hands and arms relaxed

* Aim for 1 minute of jogging and 1 minute of walking to start.

Protein bars

recipe from:Derval o’rourke

An ideal snack before or after training

Ingredients

  • 2.5 scoops of protein (I use good quality vanilla whey protein – Ros and Kinetica are good Irish brands)

  • 20g of raw cocoa powder or cocoa powder if you don’t have cocoa

  • 40g oatmeal

  • 40g unsweetened desiccated coconut, plus extra for coating

  • 50 ml almond milk

  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Keep mixing until all the dry ingredients stick together.

  2. If you still find the mixture to be slightly dry, add an extra tablespoon.

  3. Spread on baking paper and shape into flat squares (about 2 cm high).

  4. Cut into rectangles and roll in the remaining grated coconut. Alternatively, these can be rolled up like balls.

  5. Let stand for a few minutes, ideally in the refrigerator, until they are firm.

  6. These bars are best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


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