The 10 Best Foods to Eat Before and After Your Gym Session
OK, so in the past, we've told you about the foods that you should avoid at all costs; as well as the kitchen rules that will help you battle the belly; on top of how to attain Hollywood's most-coveted physique.
But what about the best pre and post-workout fuel for the regular gym-goer?
As basic as it might sound, what you eat, and when you eat it will dictate your fitness progress just as much as 10 hours of weekly gym time. There's a reason swole bros stick to the cliched truism of abs being made in the kitchen and all that.
With that in mind, here are the absolute best foods to eat before AND after your gym session.
Chicken's in there. Because, of course it is.
1| Greek Yogurt
Packing in twice as much protein as regular yogurt (petis filous is delicious, but it doesn't count we're afraid), Greek Yoghurt is a nutritional wonder that's full of the aforementioned protein, along with zinc, potassium vitamin B12 (good for the nerves and blood cells) and vitamin B6 (good for your brain and moods). Oh, and it's also lower in lactose than regular dairy and comes with natural bacteria that sorts out your immune system.
Chuck some blueberries on top and your daily pre-gym breakfast is sorted.
2| Whole Grain Toast With Almond Butter
While comparable to its more popular peanut brother, almond butter wins out slightly in the pre-workout stakes thanks to its smaller dosage of saturated fat, as well as an increase in vitamins, calcium, and iron. Spread it on whole-grain toast for a light and quick breakfast or pre-gym snack.
Remember, carbs aren't always the enemy. Your body needs them, bros.
3| Brazil Nuts
While any unsalted, un-chocolate-coated nut is a great snack prior to exercise, the Brazil nut is king, thanks to its massive selenium content (great for fighting inflammation), as well as being a source of natural protein and a mood lifter... another added benefit of said selenium.
Did we mention the selenium?
4| Omelette With Spinach and Chilli
One of the few super vegetables that doesn't taste like the bottom of a foot (not that we'd know, obviously), spinach hits all the vitamin high notes (A, B, C, E you name it), as well as being a source of zinc, fiber, and even protein. Throw some protein and vitamin-rich eggs into the mix, along with the digestion and vitamin C benefits of red chillis and you have yourself a pretty unbeatable meal.
5| Apple Slices With Natural Peanut Butter
A simple and relatively healthy snack for those with a sweet tooth. Apples are rich in antioxidants and fiber, while peanut butter covers your protein and saturated fat corners. A far better alternative to processed protein bars.
OK, so it might be a bit rah, rah health blogger (acai bowls for everyone), but Quinoa has earned its trendy #GymLife status thanks to being an absolute monster in the nutrient stakes; coming in with nearly twice as much fiber as other grains, as well as being gluten-free, full of protein all nine essential amino acids.
Swap it out for rice and you're good to go.
Along with being a great food to send you to sleep if you're an evening gym kind of guy, kiwis are also full of vitamin C and K, which prevents blood clotting and strengthens your bones.
And don't we all want strong bones?
3| Chicken Breast
Woah, hold on there... chicken? Good for exercise? Ok, it might be a tale as old bros in tank tops talking about macros, but chicken really is the bee's knees in terms of lean protein, vitamins and none of that pesky mercury that comes with fish.
Also, try and eat your main source of protein within 45 minutes of finishing your workout. For those delicious benefits.
With nearly 20 vitamins and a whole load of monounsaturated fats (don't be scared, it's good for your heart), Avocados are another superfood that's been ambushed by the 'gram and brunch crowd, but don't let that stop you from enjoying its many benefits.
Despite its stellar nutritional list, watch out for the deceptively high-calorie content of the avocado. All good things come with a price and all that...
5| Dark Chocolate (at least 70 percent)
While there's no such thing as a perfect world where an entire family bar of Dairy Milk is an ok post-gym snack, a few slabs of dark chocolate (the higher cocoa content the better) is a perfectly acceptable source of after exercise sugar, as well being full of antioxidants, magnesium, and iron.
Again, it's fairly high in calories, so keep it to a few cubes at a time.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.