Doctor’s Talk: Stay Fit and Healthy: Eat Right to Fuel Your Workout
By Assistant Professor Dr. Korakod Panich (M.D.), Herbalife Nutrition Advisory Board (NAB) Member
Workouts have become part of today’s routine for health-conscious individuals looking for sustainable ways to look and feel better. Whether in the form of exercise or cardio sessions at the gym, a run in the park, or a body weight session at home, regular workouts improve one’s fitness, strength and flexibility by making our muscles work harder than usual.
However, we must remember that workouts cannot be effective if they are not accompanied by good nutrition. They go hand-in-hand. For example, exercise alone will not help you lose weight or stimulate your metabolism. Healthy eating must be part of the formula. Many people spend hours at the gym and go straight to a fastfood restaurant feeling that they have earned the meal. Then there are those who skip meals or simply do not eat enough, and they put all their energy into their workouts. These examples are both unhealthy, because maintaining good health is all about finding a good balance between exercise and nutrition.
The right exercise and the proper nutrition will help you obtain your goals – give you the body you would like to have, boost your strength and performance and ultimately, improve your self confidence.
Sports nutrition is based on a solid general nutrition foundation which can be applied to anyone.
I would like to share some tips on eating right, before and after you exercise, so that you can make the most of the workouts that you do.
For example, if you want to go for a 30-minute jog, you need to consume about 200-250 kcal.
- Eat some carbohydrates within 30-45 minutes before workout. If you do low-intensity workouts which do not take much time and energy, consume small amounts of carbohydrates before the workout, like 1 gram per kg of body weight. For an intense workout, you can consume 1-4 grams of carbs for each kg of your body weight. It would be best to avoid fat, fiber and fruits, to avoid bloating.
- Many athletes prefer a pre-workout supplement with ingredients such as caffeine, creatine and nitric oxide precursors.
- Drink water regularly to replace the fluids you lose when you sweat. If you exercise for over 1 hour, consume a drink that contains minerals in order to compensate for the loss of sodium and potassium.
- Electrolytes can also replace valuable nutrients such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, which are lost by sweat.
- For maximum benefit, it is important to feed your muscles within 30 minutes to one hour following your workout. You can consume between 20 to 40 grams of high-quality protein, which will help rebuild your muscles help increase lean muscle mass.
- Examples of food and drinks: You can eat 2 slices of bread, an egg, or some chicken or fish. Another great option is a protein shake that can come from dairy (whey or casein) protein or from plant-based sources like soy.
Choosing the right nutrition before and after you exercise will help improve the efficiency of your workout and also help your body recover better. In addition, today, there are high quality protein products suitable for those who love to work out but unfortunately do not have time to prepare their own healthy meals. These products are delicious, convenient, easy to prepare and offer the suitable nutritional balance to ensure that you meet your health goals in a sustainable manner. Choose the products carefully, such as meal replacement shakes that are right for you.
Ultimately, my wish is for more and more Thai people to be mindful of their health, to set realistic goals and to live an active lifestyle that will bring them long term happiness.