So, you want to get back into shape, and you have a limited time to do it. Perhaps your friends signed you up for a 10K, or you have cruise to the Bahamas that you need to be swimsuit ready for. Either way, you’re on a timeline, and you want to expedite the process.
Good news for you, there is a way to do this, and it includes fueling your body with certain healthy foods — while logging those minutes on the road and in the gym. Here are some of the best fitness foods to help you get into shape in record time.
Let’s start with the obvious: apples. We all know that saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This is still true as ever, and we could easily add, “An apple a day keeps those extra pounds at bay,” or “Eat an apple for a snack and your fitness goals will stay on track.”
OK, OK, you get it, but what does science say?
For starters, apples are a great source of simple carbohydrates, which can be turned into energy quickly. And as we know, the more energy you have, the more energy you’ll have to move your body during exercise or even daily activities.
2. Beet Juice
This potent drink derived from beetroot has been receiving a lot of accolades in the fitness world, and for good reason. Beetroot contains powerful antioxidants that improve the way your body functions — hence the way it responds to workouts.
In fact, a researchers sought to find if the claims of beetroot supplementation and improved cardio endurance were linked. In their findings that were published in “Nutrients — Open Access Journal of Human Nutrition,” researchers found that chronic supplementation with beetroot juice may in fact improve cardio performance at the anaerobic threshold and VO2max intensities.
Cherries have long been equated with making things better. Think an ice cream sundae with a cherry on top. Granted, if you get into shape quickly, you may want to leave the ice cream behind. But, back to that cherry, it may be the very thing that tips the scale in your direction.
Cherries are chock full of antioxidants that help protect your body from harmful free radicals that could wreak havoc on your cells. They also contain a good amount of dietary fiber to keep your digestive system running smoothly so you can maintain a healthy weight.
What’s more? A recent study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, found that runners who drank 24 ounces of cherry juice for one week leading up to a race recovered faster and had significantly lower amounts of muscle pain. All that equates to the ability to continue exercising even following challenging workouts.
So, put a cherry on top — and while you’re at it, add a few more for good measure.
If there was a perfect fruit, it would probably be the banana. Heck, our closest relatives in the animal kingdom manage to live almost solely on these sweet, yellow crescents from heaven.
Bananas are great to eat before a workout because they provide an energy boost while maintaining stable blood sugar levels. Their blood sugar stabilizing properties also makes them a great natural way to help decrease the risk of type II diabetes.
This fine, yellow fruit is also a great source of vitamin B6, which helps reduce swelling, supports weight loss and aids in maintaining a healthy nervous system. And then there’s the all-important potassium, which can help you prevent muscle cramps while exercising, as well as help you have a good night’s sleep.
It’s a well known fact that when you’re sick, it makes it much more difficult to exercise. That’s why oranges make the list.
This sweet, juicy, citrus fruit is filled with Vitamin C, which is necessary to produce the white blood cells you need to destroy viruses, bacteria and other foreign invaders. Oranges also contain other immune system boosters like vitamin A, folate and copper so you can keep your.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are another potassium packed food that is a wonderful muscle relaxant aiding in prevention of muscle cramps and recovery. But, that’s not the only thing that this Thanksgiving favorite has.
These potatoes are full of beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E dietary fiber, copper and manganese. So, basically, this natural superfood should be your constant companion if you’re looking to speed up your fitness process.
While you really can get most if not all of your nutrients from a plant based diet, there are some great benefits that can come from incorporating meat in your meal plan. One of the best to help you build that healthy muscle is salmon.
This fatty fish has those all-important omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein. These two work together to build muscle while increase muscle protein synthesis after workouts, improving recovery.
Another animal protein that is essentially almost perfect is the egg. We mean, c’mon. It has basically all the building blocks you need to create a baby chicken minus the rooster.
An average large egg contains only 72 calories — most of which are in protein form. This protein is used to build and repair muscle cells so you can recover faster and keep that fitness plan going all the way to the racecourse or beach and feel confident in your ability to perform and look good doing it.