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Staying Well Together: Better Your Nutrition Before and After Exercise

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By Isaac Akugizibwe

KIU, Main Campus - Exercise is one way many people are keeping up with the COVID-19 lockdown as they aim to shed off stress and maintain healthy bodies. To balance the value of nutrition and exercise to the body one needs to eat the right meal or food before and after the workout. These foods particularly depend on the intensity and type of training.

"The way your body is affected by the exercise helps you understand the right food to take before and after the workout," says Joel, a fitness coach at KIU, Main Campus. Joel adds that eating the right food before work out is like fueling the body to act.

Drinking plenty of water or fluids before and during exercise has been widely recommended by health experts. They argue that the body loses a lot of water and electrolytes through sweat during exercise. "Taking plenty of water and fluids after a workout helps in replenishing the lost nutrients and also help in recovery and performance," Says sprinter Joe O'Mara.

According to healthline.com, eating the right food before work out can maximise performance and speed up recovery. They recommend proteins, fats and healthy carbohydrates such as whole-grain which must be taken at least two hours before the workout. Easily digestible foods like sweet potatoes, chocolate, milk, fruits like pineapple and bananas are highly recommended because they promote faster nutrient absorption.

Nsabimana Alphansi, KIU karate captain, says that eating easily digestible foods like bananas, sweet potatoes, chocolate and eggs before work out equips one with maximum energy to burn calories during the workout.

Athlete and fitness instructor, James Ojirot says that because some proteins in the muscles get broken and damaged, there is need for better and appropriate nutrition immediately after the workout. He says that this also depends on the intensity of the exercise.

"It is particularly recommended and important by the way to eat proteins after a workout, James says.

Health experts, according to healthline.com,  recommend 0.14-0.23 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight immediately after the workout. Foods like plant and animal powder, brown rice, eggs, oatmeal, dark leafy greens vegetables, potatoes, pasta and creatine are highly recommended after training or exercise.

Though timing may be difficult on many occasions, many experts recommend eating the post-workout meal within 45 minutes. They say that if delayed, it should not go beyond two hours. It is also important to take plenty of water or other fluids after working out. This helps replenish the lost fluids during the workout.

It is therefore advisable to take water or an electrolyte drink to replenish the fluid loss depending on the intensity of the workout. Many sports experts opt for pineapple, avocado and apple juices. 

Becoming fit and healthy out of exercise doesn't require only working out but also eating the right food before and after the workout. This helps stimulate muscle protein synthesis and enhances performance. 

Picture credit: Internet photo


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