Spending an hour sweating at the gym is great for your heart, lungs and
muscles, but to power this sort of explosive activity you’re going
to need to add some healthy fuel. You could grab the nearest Gatorade
and a granola bar, but there are much better choices available to the
average gym denizen.
Before you pack a snack for your next workout, check out these three basic
foods that can give your exercise program a massive boost:
Chocolate Milk. There’s nothing as delicious as a cold glass of chocolate milk —
but it’s also one of the best post-workout drinks around, according
to physiologist Joel Stager, director of Indiana University’s Human
Performance Laboratory. Drinking water will put the fluid back in your
system, but chocolate milk adds calcium, sugar and just a little salt.
It’s substantial enough to give your body something to metabolize
after a hard workout and just fatty enough to hang around a while and
help prevent more serious after-workout snacking.
Coffee. We all know that coffee can help us push through long nights at the office
or early mornings when we’re really not ready to get out of bed,
but it’s also a great workout tool — in moderation. According
to Molly Kimball, a sports dietician with Ochsner’s Elmwood Fitness
Center in New Orleans, the caffeine in coffee can give a boost to both
physical endurance and stamina. That might be why so many runners take
time for a cup of Joe before heading out.
Sweet Potato. Although it’s probably not the first food you think of eating right
after a workout, a sweet potato can go a long way to help repairing the
damage caused by exercise. They’re also rich in Vitamin E, which
can help protect against heart disease, they have more potassium than
bananas and contain plenty of copper for healthy muscle production. Pop
one in the microwave for four to five minutes for a quick post-workout
A good workout can provide a huge range of benefits beyond just toning
muscles and increasing your cardio fitness. Exercise is vital to your
well-being, and you might as well power it with foods that will set you
up for success over the long-term. Throw out those protein bars and sugary
electrolyte drinks, instead give some new workout power foods a try. Chocolate
milk, coffee and sweet potatoes might just be the game-changers you’ve
been looking for.