What to eat before a Pilates class
If you know about me you will know about my passion for Pilates – and the reason is that Pilates exercises benefit the body both physically and mentally, regardless of whether you are a beginner or a professional. Nutrition plays an important role in the practice of Pilates exercises like any other sport. I will talk about what is the best way to nourish before and after Pilates exercises.
Before a Pilates class:
Pilates classes focus on developing strength, with a particular focus on core strength support focused on abdominal exercises and impact on bowel movements.
For this reason, it is best to keep meals light and avoid eating a large meal right before exercise, which helps prevent or limit the release of gas that can come from a full stomach. It is also recommended to avoid foods rich in fat before exercise because they take longer to digest and break down, which can have a negative effect on your energy level. Also, avoid eating foods that are high in caffeine (such as coffee, tea, or cola) right before your workout. Foods that are high in caffeine can enhance the activity of colonic stimulants, increase bowel movements and may lead to digestive discomfort or create the feeling of going to the bathroom – the last thing you want to do is leave the binge and go to the bathroom! Therefore, choose a serving of moderate carbohydrates that are high in the glycemic index and that you know you can tolerate and will be easy to digest. Some people may find that foods that are solid do not sit like liquids in the stomach, so I suggested some foods to you;
1. A medium-sized banana
2. Musli Bar
3. A small piece of fruit
4. A small box of yogurt
Try to eat your last main meal 2-3 hours before class, or leave 30-60 minutes after a snack. If the class is first thing in the morning and you don’t have a workout right after, you may be able to work out on an empty stomach which I personally prefer, but if you feel tired in the last 15 minutes, you can eat a small meal from the suggestions above. Another thing to keep in mind is to avoid trying any new foods right before class, as this can help prevent any discomfort or uneasiness that may arise from a strange food that your body is not aware of.
After a Pilates class:
When choosing energy to fuel your body after a workout, focus on hydration, complex carbohydrates and lean protein for recovery. Pilates lessons can be “difficult.” A difficult word is not the best here. It can be challenging. It requires effort on your part and will lead to sweating. The first thing after a workout is to drink a good amount of water to quench your thirst and hydrate your body. Aim to drink 600ml of water during or shortly after your workout.
Good carbs and lean protein are essential after a workout. If you’re busy after a workout and don’t have time to prepare a meal, have a snack within 60 minutes. Aim for at least 20 grams of lean protein to help support muscle growth and recovery and help complex carbohydrates to replenish lost glycogen stores and support the recovery of energy levels. Suggestions include;
1. Fruit Smoothie
2. A can of tuna with whole grain bread
3. A cup of milk or a scoop of protein
4. A small milk carton with strawberries and nuts
If you are going to eat the main meal right after your workout (such as dinner), there is no need to eat before your workout. Make sure you’re eating a balanced meal, aiming for your dinner plate to be roughly complex carbs (like brown rice, quinoa, and wholemeal pasta), ¼ plate of lean protein (like chicken breast, lean meat, and tofu) and the rest of the plate a rich mix. Of vegetables, of at least three colors.
On rest days from exercise, our energy requirements are generally lower, due to our lower energy needs than on exercise days. Rest days are still important because they allow our bodies to recover. But in general, set a goal of eating every 3-4 hours, with a regular intake of low-GI complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. Choosing foods that contain these two nutrients helps support recovery and maintain a high energy level for your workout day on day two. As always, try to limit your intake of processed foods and refined sugars and focus on eating a rich variety of foods, especially plant-based foods. An example of meals on a rest day;
1. Egg breakfast with high-fibre bread
2. Tuna salad and brown rice
3. Salmon and grilled vegetables
If you have any questions about healthy eating, nutrition and fitness goals, do not hesitate to book a consultation with me or contact me via email or Instagram.