Lifting heavier weights and upping your reps can create sore and tired muscles, so whether it’s arm or leg day, you want to prepare your body with the proper nutrition for recovery. Without the right food on your side, you could find yourself with muscle fatigue during a workout, or you’ll get hit with a case of the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). To push through heavier lifts and intense workouts, fuel your body with these everyday foods. You’ll thank us after you hit your goals, without all that added fatigue.
They’re small but mighty. Chia seeds aid in hydration because they absorb their weight in water while also packing a punch of protein, healthy fats, and carbs. Eighteen percent of the recommended daily amount of calcium can be found in one ounce of chia seeds. Boosting calcium levels can aid in muscle contractions, helping to prevent fatigue in the long run.
Bananas are a powerhouse for potassium, another muscular-based mineral that supports muscle contractions, and it can prevent muscle cramps. Add a banana to a pre-workout shake to keep pumping iron.
They’re known for containing a significant amount of healthy fats, which boost brain and heart health while also having anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming an avocado as a snack before and after your workout can aid in the recovery process by allowing you to lift a bit longer.
Upping your diet of lean meat will help to enhance protein and amino acid levels—specifically the amino acid, taurine. Taurine can protect cells against cytokines, which can cause muscle damage and inflammation. You don’t want to be dealing with sore and tired muscles early on in a workout.
Tip: consume lean meat with a complex carbohydrate 60 minutes pre-workout, so your muscles will be tapped out with the right amount of macros.
Staying hydrated is key to enhancing your gym performance, and fatigue is a common symptom of dehydration. As a rule of thumb, be sure to drink an eight-ounce glass of water eight times a day. Your muscles will thank you with a faster recovery.
Fruits dark in color, like blueberries and cherries, are abundant in antioxidants. Antioxidants are capable of fighting off any potential free radical damage that can happen during a heavy lifting session, keeping your hard-working muscles pain free.
Toss some ginger into your pre- and post-workout shake. Ginger contains gingerols, an anti-inflammatory ingredient that’s been noted to soothe sore muscles.
A bowl of oats will power you up with fiber and protein, stabilizing blood sugar levels throughout the day. Consider a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast on a cardio day; the protein and carbohydrates will fuel your muscle glycogen stores enough to take on a five-mile run.
BY COURTNEY ANAYA, CPT