As far as health and fitness is concerned, different people train with different goals and targets in mind, but one thing that does remain consistent, is the fact that we need to fuel our bodies efficiently if we wish to perform at our absolute best. In the martial arts world, rather than sheer size and power, it is speed, agility, core stability, and flexibility that is the most important, so you need to consume foods that help bring out these physical traits from within.
Whether you’re sparring in the dojo, grappling, or simply hitting the gym for some strength and conditioning training, in order for your body to recover efficiently, you need to fuel it with the right foods, before, and after you train. Here’s a look at some ideal pre and post-workout snacks and meals.
Pre-workout oatmeal – Before exercising, it is important that you provide your body with a slow and steady supply of energy, which is why oatmeal is such a popular pre-workout choice. Oatmeal is a fantastic source of slow-release carbohydrates that will provide energy for several hours after being consumed. What’s more, oatmeal is low in fat, and is rich in healthy vitamins and minerals, including iron. Simply consume around 30g one hour before you train, and by the time you begin exercising, you’ll have more energy than you know what to do with.
Post-workout athlete special – This meal is known as the athlete special, because so many athletes, from so many different disciplines, consume this food, or at least, variations of it. The meal consists of a grilled chicken fillet, green vegetables such as broccoli or green beans, and a carbohydrate source such as a potato, or sweet potato. The idea is that, after training, you replenish glycogen stores in the muscles thanks to the carbs, plus you help to repair the muscles thanks to the proteins and amino acids found in the chicken. The veggies also provide fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Overall, as the emphasis is placed on growth and repair, this meal is absolutely ideal.
Pre-workout energizer – If you really want to fuel your body before you exercise, try putting some healthy fats inside of it. Healthy fat sources will be used almost instantly for energy, rather than being stored as fat, providing no carbohydrates are present. If carbs were present, they would be the preferred energy source, and the fats, rather than going to waste, would be stored as body fat instead. This pre-workout meal is rich in fats and proteins, and is ideal for low-carb diet plans. Basically, you want half a ripe avocado, a handful of smoked salmon, and two whole scrambled eggs. Consume around 40 minutes before exercising and you will power through your workout, whatever it is that you may be doing.
Post-workout peanut butter bagel with whey protein shake – Sometimes we haven’t got time to prepare a meal after we train, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t eat at all, as that is the worst thing you can do. After training, if you’ve no time to train, simply make yourself a whey protein shake, and consume it with a wholegrain bagel and organic peanut butter. Organic peanut butter is packed full of protein, nutrients, and healthy fats, and it tastes great. By combining it with a bagel and whey protein shake, you get energy, you get protein, you get amino acids, and you essentially have a relatively balanced meal.