Hey Fit Results Fam! So you’ve been crushing your goals so far into 2021 but have you been making pre and post workout nutrition a priority? What you eat fuels your workouts—and what you eat afterwards helps with recovery.
Carbohydrates are fuel for your muscles. The harder your engine is working, the more carbs you need to keep going. When we eat carbs, they break down into glucose, and give us fuel to exercise at our maximum capacity. When it comes to what to eat before a workout, eating carbs before you exercise ensures that you’ll have extra glucose on hand if you need it to replenish those glycogen stores.
In addition to carbs, it’s a good idea to consume some protein before your workout—especially if you are weight training. When we do strength-training exercises such as lifting weights, we create small tears in our muscle fibers. When you rest, your body repairs those micro-tears, building up your lean muscle and stronger than they were before—and it needs protein to do it.
When eating a pre-workout meal, the general rule of thumb is don’t eat immediately before a workout. While your muscles demand blood flow and oxygen, your stomach is simultaneously seeking the same. These competing demands are a challenge for optimal performance. And, even more of a factor, eating too close to a workout may cause you to experience some GI discomfort while you train.
The ideal time to eat is between 30 minutes to three hours before your workout. That way you’re not still digesting when you hit the gym floor, but you haven’t used up all those helpful calories yet.
Here are some suggestions for pre-workout fuel:
A peanut butter and banana or PB&J sandwich
Greek yogurt with berries
Oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit
Apple and your favorite nut butter
Notice that each of these suggestions include some protein as well as carbohydrates.
Getting protein and carbs into your system is even more vital post workout. Your body uses stored energy (glycogen) in your muscles to power through your workout or game, but after that workout, you need to replenish the nutrients/glycogen lost through training. Try to eat within an hour of completing an intense workout. When you don’t eat after a workout you can end up fatigued and battling low blood sugar. You’re also inhibiting your body’s repair process which will ultimately make it harder to reach your fitness goals, whether it be to lose weight or put on muscle.
Your post-workout meal should be high in complex carbohydrates that break down slowly and are loaded with healthy protein.
Here are some suggestions for post-workout fuel:
Post-workout recovery smoothie (or post-workout smoothie made with low-fat milk and fruit)
Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables.
Egg omelet with avocado spread on toast.
Salmon with sweet potato.
Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread.
And of course, don’t forget to DRINK YOUR WATER Before, after, and during your workout.