It may be confusing to know what to eat before and after a workout. I’m going to try to make it simple for you, with some snack ideas so you’re properly prepping, recovering and refuelling.
Remember first that every meal before and after your workout should be tested and changed where necessary. Listen to how your body feels and performs before, during and after you exercise. You don’t want to feel bloated, gassy or deal with other digestive problems when working out. This will inhibit the result you may be looking for.
Pre-workout (Carbs and Fat):
Exercising muscle will always use stored carbohydrates first. After consuming Carbohydrates, it will be stored in the blood and used by muscle glycogen, which is the preferred energy utilization during exercise. Therefore, the higher intensity the workout, the more muscle glycogen used and the more carbohydrates that should be consumed beforehand. Your muscles will also use stored fat once carbohydrates are limited, so it’s important to include that as well before you workout.
Once muscle glycogen depletes, you’ll start to become more tired and less motivated, so it’s important that you have properly fuelled your body for whatever workout you plan or you won’t get the results you’re looking for.
It is recommended that 1 g of carbs per kg of body weight be consumed 1 hour prior to exercise. Depending on the level of exercise you plan on doing, increase your carb intake.
- 3/4 cup oatmeal with some fruit and peanut or almond butter
- 2 slices multigrain bread with peanut or almond butter
- 1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa with cooked vegetables
For some quick energy, you can find some low sugar pre-workout energy drinks or mixes from your local health food and supplement store.
Post-workout (Protein and Carbs):
Replenish with carbs and load up on the protein! Protein will help build your muscles back together after they’ve been exhausted during your workout. This will ensure that your muscles are strong, toned and lean. Without carbs as well, your glycogen stores can not be replenished and you won’t recover properly.
- lean chicken meal
- egg and egg white omelette with milk or fortified protein enriched beverage & toast
- protein shake with milk or fortified protein enriched beverage
You must always stay hydrated during and after workouts. Your body releases water as you sweat and it needs to be replenished in order to stay healthy. Again, you must consume water on a trial and error basis to avoid cramping during workouts.
Enjoy your workout and make the best of it using proper nutrition, which is just as important as the workout itself. You’ll notice the results you want much faster this way!