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5 Benefits of Salads Before Workouts

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When it comes to reaping the most benefits from a good workout, it’s not all about how long or hard you exercise. While this is important, your nutrition also plays a key role in your fitness results. Not only what you eat is important, but when you eat it is just as crucial. Combining the two by eating the right foods at the right times – including before and after a workout – can help you get the most out of your workout regimen.

Salads should be near the top of your short list of pre-workout foods. While most people would rather reach for an energy bar before digging into a bowl of leafy greens, here are five amazing ways eating salads can benefit your body during your workouts.

5. Cut Down on Fat without Losing Muscle

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Shedding fat and building lean muscle tissue are two benefits that people get from engaging in workout regimens. Yet many times people lose vital muscle mass while attempting to lose body fat. The reason why muscle is lost at the same time as fat is largely due to inadequate pre- and post-workout nutrition. While there are specific types of exercises that can help to burn fat while helping to preserve muscle tissue, there are also foods that can be consumed at proper intervals to help cut down on fat without compromising muscle, including salad.

The ideal time to consume a fibrous carbohydrate source like salad in an effort to shed body fat while retaining muscle is approximately 2 hours prior to working out. This will allow the body to utilize the nutrients from the salad to feed the muscles, while not using up energy too soon before the workout that is used to metabolize and digest the ingredients in the dish. Remember – salads don’t necessarily have to be made up strictly of lettuce – they can include a myriad of other ingredients, like lean meats, legumes, and even fruit.

4. Promote Blood and Oxygen Flow to Muscles

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Having optimum blood and oxygen flow to muscles is crucial when exercising. Nothing slows you down or makes you more sluggish than poor blood circulation. If not enough oxygen is reaching your body’s cells in an efficient manner, you’ll most likely feel lethargic and tired, which is the opposite of what you want to be feeling while working out. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are all part and parcel of a healthy salad, can help increase oxygen supply to the muscles and improve overall circulation thanks to their high level of alkaline.

Fibrous carbs like vegetables in a salad are a great way to keep blood vessels dilated while exercising in order to allow better flow of blood – and ultimately oxygen – to the working muscles. In addition, better flowing blood to muscles can help to draw more water in, resulting in a bigger muscle pump. This can help lead to long-term muscle growth since the muscle pump places a greater stretch on the muscles cells’ membranes. This helps to stimulate chemical reactions that initiate long-term muscle growth by increasing muscle protein synthesis.

3. Boost Production of Protein in the Muscles

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Protein and muscles go hand in hand. In fact, protein promotes the muscle-building process, known as ‘protein synthesis’. But in addition to consuming protein, you should be consuming certain vegetables too, which can easily be added to a salad to make it extra hearty. In particular, spinach is an ideal leafy green to add to your salad, as it contains high levels of nitrate which boosts the production of two types of proteins that are crucial for muscle strength.

Perhaps Popeye had it right all along – consuming a certain amount of spinach can help get that serious muscle pump that is needed for a tough workout. Forget about taking nitrate supplements – a hearty salad consisting of plenty of healthy ingredients like spinach can be the ideal pre-workout meal to give you energy, satiety, and added benefit of helping to synthesize muscles protein for optimum lean muscle building.

Marissa is a talented writer and journalist with a strong background in covering physical and mental health issues. Find Marissa on LinkedIn!

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