When it comes to working out, it’s not just about the number of reps you do or how long you can survive on the treadmill; what you eat before a workout can either make or break your performance. A good way to fuel up before a workout is through an orange. Apart from their numerous health benefits, oranges can also provide you with the right nutrients to power you through a workout.
To get the best of your workout sessions, consider taking an orange 30 minutes before hitting the gym. Oranges are a great source of energy and will keep you hydrated throughout your workout. The high concentration of vitamin C in oranges also helps with muscle repair and recovery.
The rest of this article will go into more detail on how oranges can help your body prepare for a workout, sustain your body throughout the session, and speed up recovery after an exercise.
An Excellent Source of Energy
Just as a car needs gas to keep running, your body needs carbs to get through a workout. If you’ve been finding it to start or complete workouts because of fatigue or lack of energy, there is some good news for you. Taking an orange just before a workout can help you balance the sugar level in your body and take your energy and strength to new levels.
Orange contains antioxidants and natural sugar that releases energy to the body over an extended period. Take two oranges to load up on the right amount of carbs and energy to get through an intense training session. You can also add oranges to a protein-rich pre-workout meal.
An orange provides you with both physical and mental energy, so the next time you find yourself lacking the motivation to hit the gym, or begrudgingly running on the treadmill, peel and eat an orange.
Repair and Protect Muscles
Oranges have remained an important go-to source for vitamin C. A single orange contains about 100 mg of vitamin C, which is enough to meet the recommended daily intake. Not only does vitamin C in orange boost the immune system, but it also protects the muscles from the damage caused by free radicals in the body.
Vitamin C also repairs damaged muscle fibers after a workout. It facilitates the production of collagen, a protein that repairs and heals broken muscle fibers. A study focused on the effect of vitamin C on post-exercise recovery found that those who consumed 200mg of vitamin C twice a day experienced reduced muscle soreness and improved muscle function after exercise.
Apart from muscle protection and repair, the vitamin C in oranges also helps with the absorption of iron in the body. Iron is essential for the binding of oxygen to hemoglobin and contributes to the red color in muscles and blood cells. Too little iron and your muscles won’t get the amount of oxygen they need. This can affect your performance and results in the gym.
Iron also helps to regulate the metabolic rate, which is especially important if the main aim of your sessions is to lose body fat.
Oranges Help With Muscle Growth
This should come as no surprise since oranges help with muscle repair and recovery. If you’re looking to build muscles in your workout sessions, oranges can help boost your results.
Vitamin C, among its several benefits, also helps in the formation of steroid hormones such as testosterone in men. Testosterone plays a key role in bodybuilding and muscle growth. Having high levels of testosterone also means less weight and increased energy.
Also, oranges are rich in potassium, which boosts your muscle-building efforts by transporting water and other nutrients to your muscles. Potassium also helps to regulate contractions. So, if you’re not getting enough potassium, muscle cramps can set in after a workout or exercise.
Stay Hydrated Throughout Your Workout
Staying hydrated is important if you want to get the most out of your workout. During a workout, your body loses water at an elevated rate through faster breathing and increased sweating. So, if you start an exercise dehydrated, you won’t perform at the level you should.
While hydration starts with a glass of water, oranges are a great source of water and electrolyte. Oranges have high water content, about 88%, and you can get up to half a cup (118 ml) of water in a single orange. Also, oranges contain potassium, which is one of the natural electrolyte minerals that can be lost through sweat during a workout.
With one or two oranges, you’ll be able to exercise for longer and more efficiently. For a more intense workout, juice a few oranges and keep it in a sports bottle beside you for easy refueling. Blood will be pumped to different parts of your body at a normal rate, and oxygen and important nutrients will be efficiently transported to the muscles you’re targeting.
Suppress Your Appetite After Workouts
It happens to the best of us. You manage to get through an intense workout, and the first thing you think about is food. Of course, it’s normal to be hungry after a workout since you’re taxing your body more and burning more calories and energy. Post-workout nutrition is important to restore used energy and repair muscles. However, it’s easy to eat more than you should.
To avoid eating too much and sabotaging all your hard work in the gym, eat or drink an orange before or after a workout to curb your appetite. Oranges are an excellent source of fiber. It makes you fuller, rather than stuffed.
Drinking oranges after a workout also helps to keep the blood sugar level steady, keep your appetite in check, and refill your energy stores. Taking an orange juice can be a faster, easier way to refuel, but it contains less fiber than the whole fruit, and you may get some extra sugar. If orange juice is your only option, pair it with protein or other carbs.
A Word on Oranges
Oranges are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants that can be beneficial for your workouts. However, they should be eaten in moderation. Oranges are high in vitamin C, and eating too much of it can cause heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, bloating, and vomiting, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Vitamin C also helps with the absorption of iron, but taking too much of it can lead to an excessive iron buildup in the body and cause a disorder known as hemochromatosis. The safe dose of vitamin C, even for athletes and bodybuilders, is 90 mg for adult men and 75 mg for adult women, with a daily limit of 2000 mg.
A medium-sized orange contains about 70 mg while a normal-sized orange has about 100 mg of vitamin C. Taking 2 or 3 oranges supplies you with all the vitamin C you need and still keeps you below the daily intake limit.
Without a doubt, oranges can be a great addition to a workout. They are rich in vitamin C, which helps to reduce fatigue and repair muscle fibers broken down during a workout. The natural sugar in oranges also supplies you with long-lasting energy throughout your workout.
Because of the high water content, oranges will keep you hydrated throughout your workout. Oranges are also rich in potassium, which plays a key role in the muscle-building process and prevention of post-workout cramps and injuries. To enjoy the maximum benefits of oranges, take them in moderation.
Medical News Today: What to know about oranges
Livon Labs: 5 Reasons Athletes Should Take Vitamin C
Live Strong: The Effects of Eating Too Many Oranges
Road Runner Sports: Running Hack – Why You Should Eat an Orange Before Running
Goalcast: 9 Nutrients Your Body Needs to Get Fit and Build Muscle
Mayo Clinic: Vitamin C
The Daily Meal: 7 Foods You Should Be Eating Before a Workout (and 4 You Shouldn’t)