You’ve just finished a demanding but satisfying Pilates session. Your body is crying out for sustenance. You find yourself reaching for the high-carb, high-enjoyment foods in the cupboard and justify it with the ‘I deserve it’ shrug of the shoulders. And, you know what? That’s absolutely fine… to an extent. Feeding your body is just as important as making it sweat. But, it’s all about what you feed your body with. ZH Pilates highlights some tips for what to eat before and after you come to one of our classes (or any workout, for that matter).

 

BEFORE:

The importance of eating before a work out is not immediately obvious as studies have shown that, regardless of whether you eat or not, you will burn the same amount of fat. However, if you consistently work out on an empty stomach, this can lead to muscle loss. Hunger causes your body to go into emergency mode and will look to draw protein from your muscles rather than your liver or kidneys. This results in the loss of muscle mass which can then cause your metabolism to drop, making it much harder to lose weight, meaning the whole thing is pointless!

Here are a few energizing and healthy options to eat before your next work out:
– Banana with Almond Butter
– Salmon with roasted sweet potato
– 1⁄2 cup of brown rice with black beans
– Peanut butter on wholemeal toast
– Multi-grain crackers with hummus (not too much though!)

AFTER:

Ideally, you should be looking to eat something within an hour of any work out. But, the sooner you eat, the more benefit you will experience. Research shows that your body’s ability to repair and muscles is reduced by as much as 50% if you wait over two hours to eat post work out. You need to be consuming foods that are high in protein, to aid with muscle repair, and high in carbohydrates to replace energy that is expended during exercise. However, as we’ve already discussed, it’s important to eat the right meals. Below are some of the foods that are at the top of the list for a post work out feast:

– A protein shake made with half of a banana, one scoop of protein powder, almond milk, and hemp seeds
– Whole-wheat pasta with king prawns and fresh vegetables
– 3 egg omelette with avocado on toast
– Tuna salad sandwich on wholemeal bread
– Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables and brown rice

Remember – you cannot out-exercise a poor diet. Make sure you consume a balanced amount of the right foods both before and after your Pilates class, and you will see and feel the difference in no time!

Written for ZH Pilates by Sam Dennis.