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4 Hacks From Nutritionists On Planning Your Workout Meals Better

Here’s how the experts map out their workouts and meals to achieve their fitness goals.

Ayushi Thapliyal

Let’s admit it, #HealthGoals is a trend that has all of us succumbing to it in real life as well as on our social media pages. However, working towards achieving it (in the trendiest of athleisure wear), is the only real struggle! From following your diet chart to the T to hitting the gym almost every alternate day (you wish!), we all face the wrath of our nutritionist when things go out of hand.

From weaning us off our sugar cravings to loading us with healthy but unappetising juices, we make this struggle easier by quizzing nutritionists on their diet and fitness routines.

1. To eat or not to eat before a workout?

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To get you started on a dose of motivation, Shweta Bhatia, a Mumbai-based clinical and sports nutritionist shares her daily routine. “I work out in a fasted state since I follow a ketogenic plan. I strength train thrice a week and do one-two day of High-intensity interval training (HIIT) for cardio, swimming or altitude training,” says Bhatia.

While most of us find it difficult to kick the boredom out of our monotonous exercise routine, Lovneet Batra, a Delhi-based clinical nutritionist suggests mixing things up to tackle this issue. “For me, it’s mostly between swimming, weight training, yoga and Pilates. Before my workout, I eat a mango or banana,” says Batra.

Bananas are the go-to food for pre-workout regimes as they are full of potassium and magnesium which help to replenish minerals and provide natural sugars to fuel your workout. Take Bengaluru-based dietician and wellness consultant Sheela Krishnaswamy’s advice and start exercising early in the morning. “I alternate between weight training and aerobic exercises along with some yoga asanas to maintain flexibility. My pre-workout fill is just a cup of hot tea.”

2. W for Water and Wonder Workout

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Staying hydrated and replenishing lost fluids post your exercise routine is a no-brainer. Krishnaswamy takes small sips of water during her workout session followed by a healthy breakfast. “I focus more on replenishing lost fluids and electrolytes,” adds Bhatia. To increase her fluid intake, apart from water, she includes variations such as thin buttermilk, coconut water, lemon water with salt and cold soups.

In case Krishnaswamy’s workout lasts over an hour in a hot and humid environment, she opts for a rich sports drink. While it’s important to drink water before, during and post your workout, remember that water intake will vary from person to person based on the exercise environment, workout intensity and type of workout. 

3. Plan your diet around your activity

Your pre-and post-workout diet should be planned depending on the intensity of your workout and fitness goals. “Yoga and Pilates are usually low-intensity activities since you mostly use your own body weight for a long duration. If you’re using resistance, the intensity may be higher, although depends on the duration. Short duration and more resistance are equal to high intensity across all exercise types,” explains Bhatia.

“Holding a pose generates lactic acid in the muscles and leaves you with a burning sensation. That does not mean that your activity is more intense. Activities that are of higher intensity demand more protein for repair,” adds Bhatia. Choose your pre-workout snack wisely. A glass of coconut water is best if you’re doing yoga, but if you’re going for a long run or a swim have a fruit, recommends Batra.

To help your muscles recover, it’s important to have a meal that has both carbohydrates and protein, within two hours of your workout. Bhatia’s go-to is whey protein post-workout. “Post-workout, I drink sattu and have a small bowl of paneer,” shares Batra. Again, plan your post-workout meal option depending on the workout type, duration, intensity of the workout and your body type. 

4. Watch what you eat

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Bhatia cautions against eating junk and then thinking that you will burn off the calories in your workout. “Working out right after a high fibre or high-fat protein meal can cause discomfort,” adds Batra. “It is always good to rely on carbs from fruit for better energy levels before a workout. Eat a rainbow by choosing a wide variety of fruits so that you get the best range of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. For snacking, a box of dry fruits also comes in handy for a boost of energy, concludes Batra.

So, the next time you feel demotivated to keep up with your diet/exercise plan, keep these expert tips in mind and you will achieve your #healthgoals sooner than you imagine.

Photo: Shutterstock
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