There are no magic formulas to follow an adequate diet when doing physical exercise, since it depends a lot not only on the type of sport and the time of day in which we practice it but also, in the words of nutritionist Paloma Quintana, “from which it is the purpose of this exercise ”. Thus, it will not have the same dietary demands “a person who wants to lose fat, improve personal marks, or improve in races”. Quintana clarifies that, in reality, one should not obsess over intake when exercising and recommends eating what the body asks of us after training, as long as they are healthy foods.
According to Quintana, the best thing that people who go to the gym intending to lose fat can do is not eat anything before or after training. “One mistake that I often find in overweight patients is that they go to the gym to do moderate-intensity activities, from running for a while on the treadmill to a simple dance class and when they finish they have an isotonic drink, which has a lot of sugar, Or they end up eating rice pancakes and other calorie foods to make up for it. In these cases, the training is reduced ineffectiveness, ”explains Quintana, since when glycogen reserves are depleted, the body tends to use more fat, which is precisely what we seek when we want to lose weight.
The best thing if we want to lose fat is not to eat anything before or after training
Nutritional requirements are different for those who exercise with the goal of improving technique and increasing muscle mass, but who are not specifically seeking to lose weight. In these cases, it is convenient to eat after training, and much better if you opt for a series of foods that help to regain strength and restore glycogen reserves, especially in the case of those who do sports twice a day. “If you swim in the morning and CrossFit in the afternoon, or go to the gym in the morning and run in the afternoon, it is necessary to replace carbohydrates, because the reserves will have been exhausted and you must be especially careful with your diet” Quintana explains. In any case, there are some foods specially indicated to consume after sports, as they will basically provide carbohydrate proteins, essential nutrients for our body after an exercise session.
If the objective of the sport is to improve brands and tone, it is interesting to bet on the subsequent intake of foods rich in carbohydrates. “A good option is a combination of carbohydrates of various types (fructose, sucrose, etc.), depending on the tastes and desires of each person,” explains Quintana. Banana is always a good option, “since it has a somewhat better carbohydrate ratio than other fruits, and we can take it both before and after training.” If you don’t feel like banana, you can always choose other fruits, equally interesting even if they don’t contain as much fructose, or carbohydrates from bread, cereals, pasta, or rice.
In addition to replacing carbohydrates, after exercise, it is interesting to consume protein. For this, nothing better than betting on the egg, a versatile, moderately caloric, healthy and economical food that provides proteins of high biological value. The doctor-nutritionist Núria Monfulleda, from the Love yourself center in Barcelona, explains that protein “is an essential nutrient for maintaining muscle mass, which is lost with age. If we are women close to menopause, we will have to double-feed the muscles, ”so it is recommended, according to the expert, to try to take protein not only after sports but also to include a small portion in all meals. Monfulleda offers athletes to take a hard-boiled egg as a snack, while Quintana points out that another easy-to-transport option rich in both carbohydrates and protein is the cooked potato omelet.
It is another food rich in protein, which also contains calcium and probiotics. If we accompany it, for example, with oat flakes or other carbohydrates, we will already have the perfect combination to regain strength after training. Monfulleda points out that animal protein, as is the case with yogurt, assimilates better than vegetable protein so that after exercising a simple whole natural yogurt without sugar can be a good option. “The sugary yogurts contain three packages of sugar for each unit, and if we buy them skimmed since there is no fat, they will not satiate us and we will end up eating three. We have to gradually accustom the palate to drinking unsweetened and always whole yogurts, “says the expert.
The best option is whole natural yogurt: neither sugary nor skimmed
“The good thing about legumes is that they contain proteins and carbohydrates, so they are a very complete food after exercising,” explains Quintana. If they are combined with rice, they are doubly effective, and another good option to consume them is to opt for hummus, “easy to transport and comfortable to drink”. For its part, Monfulleda recommends a winning combination consisting of lentils, Burgos cheese, and smoked salmon. “It is not only a highly nutritious dish but also satiating, which will not make us want to snack after a short time, which does happen when we take refined carbohydrates.”
A can of tuna is rich in protein, so it can also be a good snack. Quintana recommends combining it with rice so that we will replace the carbohydrates and give the muscle the protein it needs. The nutritionist insists, however, that if we do not feel like taking anything before training, it is not necessary to do it, even if we do it first thing in the morning and go to the session on an empty stomach. “If you have made a complete and nutritious dinner, nothing will happen to go to the morning training having just had a coffee. The next morning we will do great and the glycogen stores will be fine. ”
We must drink water before, during, and after training, as we need to replenish the reserves that we lose when sweating and thus avoid dehydration. It should be noted that an elite athlete can lose between 1 and 2.5 kg of sweat for each hour of training, and although we should not be obsessed with the amounts we should take, it is important to keep in mind that it is advisable to drink gradually to replenish not only liquids but also mineral salts that are lost during training.