You are putting a lot of effort into your workouts so it is obvious that you expect to see progress in reaching your goals. Knowing what to eat and when can make all the difference to your fitness programme no matter what your goal is.
Following our recent blog on 5 QUESTIONS YOU DEFINITELY WANT TO ASK YOUR PERSONAL TRAINER, at Transform PT, we decided to address yet another well discussed topic.
Eating before a workout?
An outgoing debate if people should eat before a workout or not may lead to lots of fights even between the best gym buddies. Whether you are a pre-workout food believer or not, let’s look at it in this way. Simply picture your body as a car – you can’t expect it to drive 200 miles without any petrol in the tank, can you?
When and What to Eat
Just like the car, our bodies need fuel. Ideally, you want to have some form of fuel in your system before a workout. Eating something small and simple about an hour or so before you head out for your workout is the way to go. Try fruit and yogurt, peanut butter on toast or avocado toast with a broiled egg – nothing that’s too much otherwise you will feel sluggish and heavy.
On the other hand, not eating enough before a workout can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded. Not eating may also impact your performance and reduce results. You are also more likely to get injured. If you prefer to exercise first thing in the morning, try to at least have a banana or a sugar free protein bar on the go. Make sure to drink water before, during, and after exercise.
• We recommend to eat light meals and foods which contain simple carbohydrates and some protein 30 minutes to an hour before a workout – see ‘snacks’ examples bellow.
• Eating a meal with around 300 – 450 calories containing a good source of protein, complex carbohydrates, and little fat, 2-3 hours before a workout.
Reasons to eat before a workout:
1. Gives you more energy
2. Prevents muscle breakdown
3. Increase muscle recovery
Here are some tips on how to fuel up before a workout:
- A smoothie: Blend 1/2 cup of fruit and 1 cup of vegetables with some nuts
- An apple, pear or celery with nut butter
- Greek yogurt with granola and berries
- A Purition protein shake
- Rice cakes topped with nut butter and banana
- Oatmeal with peanut butter and fruit
- Baked salmon, brown rice, and roasted veggies
- Avocado toast with feta and broiled egg
- Chicken, Rice & Vegetables
Eating after a workout
The eating after a workout is no brainer. We all know just how important it is to replenish the body after a strenuous exercise. Luckily, most of us naturally have the desire to eat something considerably healthy following a workout.
Generally speaking, eating after a workout is important. You sort of ‘feed’ the muscles that you’ve just trained. Suggested is a small snack soon after you finish your sweat session – ideally something with protein and fibre rich carbohydrates. Following an hour or two later, would be the time for your main meal.
Benefits of eating nutritious meal after a workout:
• Increases muscle ‘growth’
• Restores your glycogen levels
• Enhances recovery
The most common post-workout mistake of eating too much and choosing less healthy options can sabotage all your hard work and efforts. If you burn 300 calories during your workout, you don’t want to be consuming a 500 calorie junk food. Period.
We highly recommend that you eat after a workout, as that is all about replacing the calories and nutrients you just burned. First of all you want to make sure to replenish the glycogen and electrolytes that you have lost during your exercise. Secondly, eating protein and complex carbs rich meal after a workout can help with speedy recovery of your muscles. This is especially important following a weight training session.
Not eating after a workout can result in fatigue and low blood sugar. You are also disturbing your body’s natural repair process and in the long run it will be harder to reach your fitness goals.
Example foods to eat after a workout:
- Sweet potatoes
- Rice cakes
- Brown rice
- Dark, leafy green vegetables
- Whole wheat bread
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Tofu / Seitan / Tempeh
- Nut butters
- Trail mix (dried fruits and nuts)
Is this post & pre-workout talk still a little too confusing? No worries – we got your back! Book your free consultation with us and let clear all the confusion up!