"The body is like a machine, if you want to make the most of your time during your workout, it’s important to give your body the necessary nutrients at the right time."
Knowing when and what to eat goes a long way in helping you reach optimum performance when exercising. With expert tips from Garrett Teh, personal trainer at popular rock climbing gym Boulder Movement, we’ve put together some of our favourite healthy meal-prep ideas to push you closer to your fitness goals.
“It’s important to give your body the right kind of carbohydrates before training,” explains Garett. Simple carbohydrates such as sugar, honey, fruits, and white bread are easily broken down and absorbed by the body to produce a sharp hike in blood sugar and energy. If there is no time to eat before your workout, a banana or a sports drink are great options to boost your energy levels quickly.
On the other hand, complex carbohydrates such as wholegrains, and starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn provide their energy gradually over time. If you’re planning to go for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or weights training, Garrett recommends eating complex carbohydrates one to two hours beforehand to load up on glycogen — stored sugar that your muscles use for energy — to increase your overall endurance.
Potato Pasta with Sauteed Mushroom and Cream Sauce
Did you know that a medium-sized potato contains more electrolyte for the body than a banana? An important electrolyte, you should consume enough potassium every day to keep your heart and kidneys working normally.
Healthy Shrimp, Asparagus and Quinoa Salad
This tasty salad sure packs a nutritious punch. A popular superfood, quinoa is high in protein and has twice the amount of fibre than most grains - allowing you to feel full longer and prevent overeating. In addition, asparagus acts as a cancer-fighting detoxifying ingredient, alongside other greens like kale and brussels sprouts.
Convenient and tasty, you can always prepare this salad beforehand and store in the fridge for busy evenings when you need a quick bite before hitting the gym.
Chicken and Corn Puree
This simple dish is easy to prepare and delicious; perfect for those busy days when you have little time to cook. Corn is high in starch and antioxidants, while chicken is a source of protein that can help with muscle recovery.
To make this meal more hearty, add multi-grain bread for an extra helping of complex carbohydrates.
When your glycogen stores have been exhausted, your muscles will start craving carbohydrates for energy. Post-workout is thus the best time to consume simple carbs - and you shouldn’t wait too long to eat either. “Ideally, you should consume your meal 20 to 45 minutes after training to take advantage of the muscles’ receptive state towards carbohydrates.”
Protein is equally essential for muscle building and recovery. Garrett suggests to prepare your protein and carbs in a ratio of 1:3. For example, if you have a shake of 20g of protein, add about 60g of carbohydrates (such as bananas) into the mix. Other healthy proteins to consider include lean meat, seafood and dairy produce like cheese, milk and yoghurt.
Vegetable Cheese Quiche Tart
Pop this tart into the oven before your workout and reward yourself with a healthy tasty treat afterwards. While the recipe is vegetarian, feel free to add chicken or salmon to incorporate healthy proteins into the meal.
If there are any leftovers, simply store them in the fridge to enjoy the next day!
Mixed Seafood Aglio Olio with White Wine Sauce
For a heartier post-workout recovery meal, pastas provide a great combination of protein and carbohydrates to refuel your body.
The best part? All the ingredients are quick to cook and you can adjust them to your liking for a tasty and nutritional dish in under 35 minutes.
Salted Baked Fish
Want to add some variety to your meals? This pescatarian dish is not only a great protein source; baking it in foil and salt crust ensures that it remains wonderfully moist and juicy on the inside — something to look forward to after a grueling session at the gym!
Complete this meal with sides such as a fresh garden salad or rice.