So you have figured out that you need grains to fuel performance. Next, come the questions. What amount of grains should I be eating? When should I be eating them? Which grains should I be eating?
Let us take them up one by one.
How much grains should I be eating?
The answer to this one varies as per your goals and needs.For instance, if you are trying to lose weight and create a calorie deficit, obviously you can’t binge on the carbohydrate-rich grain products. If, on the other hand, you are doing a hard workout and looking to aid recovery, you can afford to be more liberal with grain-based foods.
The idea is that you figure out your carbohydrate requirements (this would depend on your age, gender, body composition, activity levels, personal preference, food culture, and current metabolic health) and then try to meet a substantial portion of them via whole grain intake.
Ideally, whole grains should become the foundation for at least two of your main meals in a day.
When should I eat grains?
Grains can be eaten both pre and post-workout.
Eaten a few hours before a workout, they will offer you a fibre-rich, slow-burning energy reservoir for your workout.
Post-workout, eaten in conjunction with proteins, they will aid recovery and be beneficial in reducing the exercise-induced dip to your immune system.
A word of caution, it takes time to digest whole grains so get that whole grain meal in at least 2-3 hours before the workout.
Which grains should I eat?
The answer to this one is long and listed in the third and last part of this series.
- Sarfaraz Khan, Fitness Trainer & Nutrition Specialist.