Maximize your workout with food? Nutrition Expert Larry Silvestro says yes.
Fitting the right meals in before and after a workout is like assembling a puzzle. All the pieces go together and it’s quite the accomplishment! Leave something out and the whole effort is incomplete. Larry Silvestro, a NESTA-certified Nutrition Expert at Renaissance ClubSport Aliso Viejo Laguna Beach, says adding certain foods to your workout routine can not only provide serious benefits, it can improve your overall athletic performance.
Before You Sweat
“Anytime is safe to eat before a workout,” Larry says, “But it’s best to eat 30 minutes to an hour before your workout to let your food digest and allow your carbs to convert to blood sugar to be utilized.” He says the old adage about waiting an hour after eating to swim or run simply isn’t true. “My mom used to make me wait 15 minutes after eating before I could go swimming because she believed that you would get stomach cramps and drown, but it is an old wives tale. You can eat prior to working out or swimming,” he reveals.
“Providing blood sugar for your workout is the goal, but don’t overdo it,” he says of the pre-workout meal. “These meals cover all the bases as far as providing energy and muscle repair.”
- Plain yogurt topped with blueberries and raw walnuts
- Apple with almond butter
- Protein smoothie with the protein of your choice (whey or vegan), coconut water, spinach and avocado
Coffee: Friend or Foe?
“Coffee is a great pre-workout drink, as it improves focus, increases performance and accelerates fat loss,” Larry says, but cautions that those with high blood pressure should consult their doctor beforehand.
After the Workout
Eating after your workout is equally important to restore and replenish, but not everyone is hungry after a lot of exertion. Larry lists different ideas depending on your workout, but says everyone should hydrate, whether you’re thirsty or not.
- Egg whites and brown rice. “Egg whites have Leucine, an important amino acid that increases muscle protein synthesis,” he says. “The brown rice is a whole grain carbohydrate that replenishes glycogen stores and also has probiotic supporting fiber found in whole grains.”
- Turmeric protein shake. “It has protein for muscle repair and turmeric that is full of the antioxidant curcumin, which has been shown to help decrease muscle soreness and damage, as well as help with inflammation.”
- Coconut warer. “Hydration is a big consideration after a hard workout and for that I like coconut water. Coconut water has electrolytes, antioxidants and carbohydrates which makes it a well-rounded recovery drink,” he says.
“The most obvious mistakes that I see when [gym] members come to me with their diets is they consume too many carbohydrates and too much processed foods. All carbohydrates are a form of sugar and most people’s activity level does not match the amount of carbohydrates they eat. They simply consume more energy than they burn and the end results could be more body fat,” he says.
New Addition to Your Diet
“One of my favorite products that we sell here at our club is UCAN. UCAN is a super starch, a modified non-GMO cornstarch that acts as a slow releasing carbohydrate that gives you steady and sustained blood sugar. UCAN comes in a powder that you can add to your smoothie in place of fruit or in a bar for convenient pre-workout snack,” he says.