Exercising does increase my appetite, if I have had a long distance row, burning around 500-600 calories, I do tend to get off the rower much more hungrier than when I got on! If on the other hand I have completed a speedy session, the last thing I want to do is eat when I finish - these are the times when I have to force myself to fuel properly.
Before my workout I mostly just have my good old porridge that is always my breakfast, I am a real creature of habit and porridge, I think,has all the properties in it to help my body prepare for my training, on the porridge goes my ‘go to ’protein yoghurt, sunflower seeds (for the healthy fats), blueberries and some ground cinnamon. The cinnamon I use for flavour, but it is regarded as a way to ‘kick-start’ your metabolism in the morning. The only down-fall to my healthy breakfast is the two cups of strong coffee that I have to consume to feel human!
If my session is mid-morning and a higher intensity one, then I have to have another coffee around 90 mins before it, this will help me and my stamina throughout the session. Caffeine is known to give your body an edge whilst working out, making yourself not notice how hard you are working, giving you that extra ‘push’ when you need it!! It also makes me more human in the morning, I think my family will vouch for that!!
Now activity uses a lot of energy and it is difficult for the body to recover if energy levels are not replenished in 15 to 30 minutes after finishing a workout session. So the choosing of the right food after workout comes with a lot of benefits like they can help people recover more quickly, build muscle, and get ready for their next workout session, so after a high intensity session, you need to eat to restore the nutrients that were used by your body in the completed session.
During the process of working out in your session, your muscles use up their glycogen energy stores. Some of the muscle proteins also get damaged, especially during strength-based routines. So you need to replenish depleted glycogen stores to help fuel your body again and also help aid your body’s recovery, so that your body can repair muscle tissue and build new muscle with the adaptations your workout has kickstarted.
The way you encourage this is by eating the right combination of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals these help speed the process of rebuilding the used glycogen stores, as well as repairing muscle proteins, you should also include some healthy fats in with your post workout meal.
Higher carbohydrate meals are most beneficial after endurance activities - such as rowing, running or cycling that have lasted for more than an hour. Following strength training, it’s important to consume protein in combination with moderate carbohydrate. Also the ideal timing for consuming a post-workout snack is within 45 minutes but benefits can be seen up to 2 hours after training- so if your at the gym don’t worry, you have plenty of time to get that all-important re-fuelling in. If in-doubt take a banana with you to chomp on whilst walking home from the gym!
It's really important to practice good, healthy eating as this along with exercise can really help you to achieve the progress you are working so hard to achieve. Changing your lifestyle for the better to improve your physical and mental health, to increase your quality of life in the present and future is a really important step for anyone, and eating the correct nutrients can really help you get fitter, look better, strengthen your immune system and help you feel that the progress isn’t untouchable and well within reach for you!