It is healthy to hit the gym for regular workouts. However, you need to know about proper nutrition in order to maximise your efforts.
The science behind it
Aerobic exercise involves stress endurance over a long period of time. Initially your body burns carbohydrates and as the duration increases, fat becomes the fuel.
Anaerobic exercise involves intensive stressing over shorter periods. These exercises use up the carbs that are stored in your muscles.
Before the workout
You should remember to follow these tips before you start your workout.
Have food rich in complex carbohydrates like whole-grain pasta, rice and bread. These are great energy sources. You can have a meal that has complex carbohydrates about an hour or half an hour before you start your workout. That way you will be able to work harder and longer. It is important to take complex carbs and avoid simple carbs like candy.
Drink a lot of water to resist injury and maintain a normal body temperature. You can do so one or two hours before you start.
During the workout
Even during the workout, keep drinking water every 15-30 minutes. You can give yourself a boost by drinking sports drinks after more than an hour of intense exercise. However, avoid fruit juices and sodas, because they can cause cramps, nausea and diarrhoea.
After the workout
Right after the workout have a carb-rich snack to restore your muscle-glycogen levels.
You can have a nice meal that includes lean protein after about an hour, which will help to repair any damaged muscle tissues. You should also include some complex carbs. Do not forget to replenish your lost fluids with more water. You can monitor your pre- and post-exercise body weight and for every pound lost, you will need to drink at least two cups of water.
Get the amount of protein right
It does not matter if you are a body builder or a regular exerciser, your muscle needs to repair and grow. Protein is required for this. Therefore, take the right amount of protein.
For a moderately active person, 20% of their caloric intake should come from protein whereas if you are a body builder, you will need 30% to come from protein.