If you had to name the most critical part of your workout, what would it be? Weight training? Cardio? How about eating your seafood? Yep, what you eat is probably the most important decision you make on your fitness journey. Whatever your #fitnessgoals are—weight loss, increased strength, a faster 10K—they’re all partly driven by the fuel you give your body. Pro athletes and weekend warriors alike rely on seafood to power them through training and intense physical activity. Here are some of the benefits of eating more fish and why it can help kick your workout into high gear:
- Stable appetite. It’s hard to push through that run if you’re hangry! A high-protein seafood meal stabilizes your glucose levels and keeps your appetite in check, which helps you stay full longer and, ultimately, eat fewer empty calories. Shrimp weighs in with 24 grams of protein per serving and crab with 21 grams per serving.
- Increased energy. Try dragging yourself to the gym during a midday slump—not happening! The motivation you need could be in your next seafood meal. Choices like salmon and tuna offer plenty of lean protein, healthy fats and micronutrients such as iron, vitamin D and B vitamins, which help boost our energy levels.
- Greater endurance. When you’re training hard, avoid hitting the dreaded “wall” by eating some seafood before your workout. Fish oil has been shown to improve blood flow, which can help deliver oxygen to the lungs during physical activity and enhance athletic performance.
- Stronger muscles. To keep your muscles and tendons in tip-top shape, fuel up on foods rich in iron and vitamin B-12, such as clams and trout. Salmon and mackerel are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight post-workout inflammation and speed up recovery time.
- Better bones. Your bones hold you up—literally—throughout your workout. Return the favor by incorporating plenty of bone-building, calcium-rich fish in your diet, such as sardines. Salmon and tuna are some of the best natural dietary sources of vitamin D, which you need to absorb calcium.
- Healthier heart. The first rule of cardio workouts: Stay in the zone! According to the American Heart Association, a fish-friendly diet full of healthy omega-3s can help keep your heart beating strong. Research has shown that selenium (found in tuna, sardines and oysters) and copper (found in shellfish) can help prevent cardiovascular disease, too.
So, before and after you work out, be sure to fuel your body with some seafood. Eating your way toward the recommended 2 to 3 servings of seafood per week can help you build muscle, burn fat and work toward a stronger, healthier you!