Proper nutrition before and after your workouts is key, as it will help you effectively power through your routine and enable your body to recover and recoup after you’re done. You may see ads or hear about new powders or pills that promise to deliver the best fuel for your workout. However, it’s very important to use caution with powders and supplements, as you don’t know how your body will react to all the ingredients (some pills and powders have dozens of ingredients!). The safest bet is to stick with natural, whole foods that have been proven to give your body a boost.
Here are five foods that will give your body the clean fuel it needs for your workouts:
Coffee: According to a study by the American College of Sports Medicine, coffee can improve your endurance. Try having a cup or two before your workout. Not a coffee drinker? Tea has also been shown to be effective in this area.
Oats: Oats are full of fiber, which means they gradually release carbohydrates into your bloodstream, ensuring your energy levels stay consistent during your workout. A cup of oats for breakfast is an ideal pre-workout meal in the morning.
Plain, Greek-style yogurt: Yogurt’s nutrient content provides essential carbohydrates and proteins that can help your body repair and build muscle. Try having some yogurt topped with fresh fruit post-workout.
Beet juice: According to a study from the American Physiological Society, subjects who drank beet juice as a supplement for 15 consecutive days showed increased endurance. Scientists found the juice’s natural nitrates dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow, bringing more oxygen to muscles, which eases the burden on the heart. Other foods with high nitrate concentration are celery, arugula, and spinach.
Bananas: Bananas are a great source of potassium, which can help reduce your chance of muscle cramps. They also replenish your body with the electrolytes you lose from sweat.