Ever since I started teaching spin classes at Fairfield University’s Leslie C. Quick, Jr. Recreation Complex, I’ve experienced a variety of feelings. One of the best I have experienced is the feeling of being pumped to teach – creating music playlists, making spin profiles to my favorite tunes and seeing the same people come back to my classes every week gives me so much to look forward to. I also have experienced more exhaustion than usual, as my exercise schedule has increased dramatically since I started. But, something else I have been feeling lately is HUNGRY! Performing any physical activity, especially an activity as intensive as cycling, can boost your metabolism and lead you to feeling hungry much more than usual. Since spinning is cardio, you may feel like it isn’t super important to eat directly before and after spin class. But that is untrue! Any physical activity, whether it is cardio, strength training or something in between, requires you to fuel up before and after the activity. Here are a few key foods to eat before and after taking a spin class, or performing any cardio intensive workout:
Before – Bananas
According to many of the instructors at SoulCycle, a banana is their go-to choice for a pre-spinning snack. Bananas are proven to increase energy due to their healthy carbs that replace muscle glycogen. They also are packed with potassium, which helps the body deliver oxygen to the brain. Both of these benefits of bananas make it a perfect pre-spinning snack!
Before – Nut Butter
Nut butter is another highly recommended snack for pre-spinning. Any kind of nut butter is packed with protein and healthy fats, giving you the energy your muscles need to fuel up for your workout! Tip: pair the nut butter and the banana together – it’s a magical combination for a cardio intensive workout.
After – Protein Smoothie or Shake
It’s a good thing smoothies are available around every corner in Fairfield county! A smoothie is a great post-workout snack, as many of them are packed with fruit, non-dairy milk, maybe some yogurt and some greens. Tip: a smoothie is a great way to get your dose of banana, nut butter and protein all in one, so it’s a great snack to have before or after a cardio intensive workout!
After – Lean Protein + Complex Carbs
Many exercise aficionados incorporate lean proteins and complex carbs into their diets, specifically for post-workout meals. If you happen to be eating dinner directly after spin class, it wouldn’t hurt to have a lean protein (chicken, tofu, eggs) along with complex carbs (whole wheat pasta, brown rice) as a part of your meal. This will help your muscles recover and give them the fuel they need. If you’re spinning in the morning, try having some oats before or after spinning, as they also have both the protein and carbs needed to fuel you!