Whatever may have the inspiration for joining the gym, one must ensure that they do it with minimum injury, do not suffer muscle loss, and have a proper recovery without compromising on their immunity. The regime of going to the gym, doing cross-training and running for miles will not bear fruits if the body does not get proper nutrition. Diet can make or break your gym goals.
- Check for deficiencies: It is recommended that anyone beginning a rigorous exercise regime either through the gym or any other form should on priority get a check-up done for any nutritional deficiencies. A lot of us fail to recognize the importance of studying our body first before plunging head-on into exercising. If someone is vitamin D or calcium deficient, the workout could lead to injury and a weak immune system. If one is deficient in magnesium it could cause muscle cramps and a delayed recovery.
- Pre-workout food: Optimal nutrient intake prior the workout will not only help optimize performance but also minimize muscle damage. It is very important because the body is not used to physical strain and a sudden stress without proper refueling may lead to low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) or dizziness. The pre-workout food needs to be a good combination of carbs with protein. Suggested options could be fruit with a handful of nuts, a bowl of fruits with nuts (Smoothie is an excellent option), boiled sweet potato with nuts.
- Post-workout diet: After exercise, the muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel leading to its depletion. Some proteins in the muscles would also get broken down or damaged. After the workout, the body rebuilds on these stores and works on the repair of the muscles. Eating right nutrients after exercise helps accelerate this process. It would decrease muscle protein breakdown and instead help in the synthesis. A combination of good carbs and proteins will help in the recovery process. Those who exercise more than once a day need a greater amount of carbs than those who would take a break of a day two in between.
- Hydrate well: Well, this could be a cliché and we think we all understand this mantra well, but one would be surprised by how little importance we actually pay for it. Now, drinking water during the exercise is something that we would be forced to do, due to obvious reasons. BUT, to avoid any adverse effects, hydration should begin 2-3 hours before any workout or sporting activity.
- Avoid Dietary Supplements: It is not advised for beginners. Only if someone is suffering from severe deficiency or a medical condition should they have supplements but that too should be consumed under supervision.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!