Having trouble achieving your fitness goals? If your New Year’s resolution wasn’t enough, let the Olympics motivate you. Work hard in the gym and be sure to work equally hard in the kitchen. Here are a few recipes for pre and post-workout consumption inspired by the cuisine of the home of the Olympics: Greece. But first, let’s talk about the nutrients your body needs for a workout.

Which Nutrients Does Your Body Need for a Workout?

A mixture of carbohydrates and protein. You’ll need carbohydrates for energy because carbohydrates increase the body’s insulin level and insulin enables your body to convert glucose into energy. Without carbohydrates, you will feel tired soon after beginning your workout. Protein is also helpful because as your muscles use energy to burn calories, protein restores them. Without protein, your muscle restoration will be slower. This is even more important after your workout.

The more intense the workout and the fewer breaks you take, the greater the need for carbohydrates as your body requires more energy. Crossfit or extreme interval training are two great examples. If you’re lifting weights, you’ll require less energy from carbs but your muscle tissue will suffer greater damage and thus the balance should be tilted in favour of protein. When cooking these recipes, be sure to alter the proportions of carbohydrates and protein to suit your exercise program.

Spinach and Brown Rice

Using a pot or a rice cooker, cook one garlic clove and half an onion, in olive oil, over medium heat. Add a bag of spinach and cook until it’s wilted. Use instant brown rice if you’re impatient to eat. Otherwise, long grain rice is ideal. Let your hunger level determine the amount of rice. Per cup of rice, you’ll want 1½ -2 cups of broth. If using long grain rice, it should take 15-20 minutes to cook. Add pepper generously and keep in mind that store-bought chicken broth has plenty of salt.

Salmon and Tzatziki with Greek Yogurt

Grate a cucumber, finely dice, or use a blender. Using a strainer and paper towel, squeeze excess moisture out of the diced cucumber.  Add the cucumber to 1 cup of Greek yogurt. Add a clove of diced garlic ½-1 teaspoon of olive oil along with salt and pepper. Feel free to add basil or dill along with salt and pepper.

For the salmon, take a small salmon fillet and coat with chopped dill, salt and pepper. Salmon has plenty of natural oil, so you don’t need to add too much oil to your oven-proof sauté pan. Wait to add the fillet until the pan has reached medium. While your pan is heating up, set the oven to 250-300 Fahrenheit.  Let the salmon cook for 5-7 minutes and then add to the oven for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and add your Tzatziki. You now have a great-tasting, post-workout meal since Greek yogurt and salmon are chock full of protein.    

Shrimp, couscous and vegetables

Take ¾ of a cup of Couscous and add to a rice cooker or a pan along with ½-1 teaspoon of olive oil, a generous serving of salt and pepper and 1 ¼ cup of water. The couscous won’t take long. Meanwhile, sauté 4 cherry tomatoes, ½ a red pepper, a few diced cremini mushrooms and a clove of garlic in olive oil. Once the vegetables are sizzling, add ½ pounds of shrimp. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp. Once the shrimp and vegetables are done, add them to the couscous and mix. This meal, with carbohydrates, protein and vegetables, will get your body ready for a workout. If you’d like to enjoy it after a workout, add more shrimp for more muscle-restoring protein.

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