NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Making it to the gym is just half the battle in the quest for fitness. Fueling your body so you can stay energized and feeling your best is equally important.
Soreness and injuries can happen to those in the best of shape. The root of the problem is often inflammation, according to Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Alison Tager.
“There are certain foods that will help you get back to your workouts faster,” she told CBS2’s Alex Denis.
Dark berries, blueberries, black berries and cherries are filled with antioxidants.
“That’s going to reduce the delayed onset muscle soreness called DOMS, which is an effect you get 24 to 48 hours after working out,” said Tager.
If you’re doing high-intensity exercises, look to restore glycogen storage for an energy boost that aids in recovery. Post workout, snack on fruits like kiwi or banana or a healthy carb like a sweet potato.
“Don’t eat this alone. Have some type of protein or healthy fat with it,” said Tager.
Exercise can also create free radicals which can be hard for the body to absorb.
“To help combat free radicals that can cause damage to your cells, cruciferous vegetables, specially leafy greens like collards, help eliminate that byproduct you’re producing during exercise,” said Tager.
Foods high in glycine, like spinach, kale and cauliflower, act like a buffer for lactic acid and help fight muscle cramps. Consider eggs any time of day.
“They actually contain the amino acid lucine which is specifically great for muscle building,” said Tager.
And while yogurt is another great source of protein, don’t make an easy mistake.
“If you start adding berries and nuts and other add ons, the calories can spike pretty quickly,” said Tager.
How soon after your exercise should you be eating?
“You should try to be eating within 30 to 60 minutes post workout,” said Tager.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and you should warm up prior to stretching before and after a work out. It’s important because stretching cold muscles can lead to injury.