How to Maximize Your Gains with Pre and Post Workout Nutrition
People who work out often face a dilemma in choosing what food to eat. Some opt to eat light snacks before working out and eat a heavy meal afterward. However, proper timing is as important as what food you eat. During workouts, the body needs fuel to function properly. The muscles also need to regenerate after a stressful activity to prevent weakness and injury.
Proper nutrition is crucial to prepare your body for a physical exercise. Your body also needs to recover after a physical training. What you eat and when to eat should be part of your fitness regimen so you can get the best workout gains.
Consuming a proper diet before and after a workout has a lot of benefits. First, you get to maximize your time in the gym because your body is fuelled properly. Second, your muscles recover faster and you won’t feel fatigued or weak right after. Last, you are less prone to injuries because your muscles repair quickly.
Read on to learn some tips on how you can maximize your gains with proper pre- and post-workout nutrition:
- Nutrition Based on Type of Training
What is your usual training regimen? Different activities require different amounts of nutrition. This helps athletes and ordinary people fuel up before a workout and recover afterward.
- Cardio Training
Cardio training requires endurance. When you eat is a bigger factor than what you eat. It is best to consume a full meal at least 60 to 90 minutes before your workout. This allows the food to digest properly and give you enough energy without feeling sluggish. Eat a diet that is low in fat and sugar, moderate in protein, and high in complex carbohydrates.
Protein should be consumed within the 20-minute metabolic period. You should also consume electrolytes to rehydrate your body and replenish glycogen stores. Protein helps your muscles repair themselves after a strenuous activity. After an hour, consume a meal with small servings but prioritize simple carbs and proteins.
- Strength Training
Strength training requires strength and endurance. Eating the proper food before a workout allows you to perform to the fullest.
1 to 2 hours before your session, eat a balanced meal of complex carbs and protein. Carbs help prevent your muscles from getting weak. Proteins help your muscles repair themselves. It would also be best to drink water or sports drinks every 20 minutes into your session. Water rehydrates your body and sports drinks contain carbs that boost your energy.
After your training session, consume a full meal that is high in proteins. The amino acids in proteins help repair worn-out muscles.
- Race and Marathon Training
If you are going to run the next day and need to prep, make sure that your body gets enough nutrition. Eating properly before your training helps you perform better.
The night before your training, consume a meal that is low in fiber and fat but high in carbs. In the morning, make sure your breakfast is high in carbs such as whole-grain cereals, whole wheat toast, and bananas.
During training, make sure you drink 3 to 6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes into your session. Don’t forget to weigh yourself before and after a workout. Why? After your exercise, you should replenish your fluid intake. You should drink 16 ounces of fluid for every pound of sweat that you lost. Consume 4 ounces of tart cherry juice after your workout. Cherry juice works best in muscle recovery and helps reduce muscle damage and inflammation so you don’t get muscle cramps.
- What to Eat Before and After a Workout
What about for regular fitness buffs? What food can you eat before and after a physical exercise? Well, you also need to ensure that you get proper nutrition. Don’t worry, you won’t get fat. Make sure to follow these tips for a more effective workout gain.
- Pre-Workout Nutrition
Eat a full meal 1.5 to 2 hours before working out. This allows you to properly digest the food and still have enough energy. Consume a balanced meal of protein and complex carbs. Protein is great for muscle regeneration.
Complex carbs digest more slowly but without the sluggish feeling. Also, complex carbs help the muscles retain glycogen stores. When your body retains more glycogen, the more weights you can lift and the more energy you have.
It is also best to take supplements before your training session. B-vitamins provides more energy to fuel your workout. Ginko biloba and tyrosine motivates you to go through your sessions as they improve concentration and mental focus.
Some take creatine to quickly build muscle and increase water retention in the muscles. However, creatine can cause overexertion and damage the muscles. It would be best to find supplements without creatine and work on having proper nutrition.
Here’s a list of foods that are recommended for a pre-workout meal:
- whole grain oats
- brown grains
- brown rice
- full-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt
- granola bars with nuts
- almond milk
- high-protein oatmeal
- peanut butter
- hard-boiled egg
- lean chicken
- sweet potatoes
- green beans
- Post-Workout Nutrition
After working out, your body craves for carbs. You will also feel thirsty because of the water that you lost through sweating. Your muscles will also feel tired and aching. Proper nutrition after a strenuous activity helps you recover from these effects.
Consume proteins and electrolytes within the 20-minute metabolic period after a workout. At this time, your body absorbs more nutrients effectively. After an hour or two, eat a full meal composed of simple carbs and high-protein. Simple carbs help replenish the glycogen stores essential to muscle recovery.
Carbs also reintroduce glucose into your body. After a workout, your blood sugar drops because your muscles have already consumed the glycogen stores. This explains why you feel irritable and weak if you don’t eat. Proteins help keep you full, restores the lost nutrients, and suppresses your appetite so your body doesn’t crash.
What about for people who workout at night? Can you still consume a full meal before retiring to bed? You should. Your body still needs to recover and repair itself, so it needs proper nutrition. Otherwise, starving yourself leads to weakness, sleep problems, and you may be prone to injuries such as muscle cramps.
Here are some nutritious foods you can eat after a workout:
- hummus and pita bread
- tuna or salmon
- vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, butternut squash and carrots
- sweet potatoes
- fruits such as bananas, apples, bananas, berries, avocado
- lean chicken
- olive oil
- white bread
- dark chocolate
Eating a proper diet is essential to healthy living. For people who are always on the go or have an active lifestyle, the more that you need to increase your intake of proteins and healthy carbs. People who are into sports, fitness training, strength training or aerobics should not rob themselves of food when they feel hungry. Proper nutrition and proper timing has more benefits and helps you achieve the maximum gains from your workout.
If you haven’t started, why don’t you go ahead and plan your meals for the week?
|Annie Jones is the person behind BoostBodyFit. She started off a bit on the chubby side but went through a transformation. She looks and feels great. Say Hi to Annie on Twitter, Facebook|