Today we’re gonna be talking about the importance of the foods you choose before and after you workout. Experts always say that good health and weight maintenance is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise: you truly cannot outwork your diet. So with that said, let’s make sure you’re choosing the right foods and drinks to fuel you through a workout and help you recover afterwards.
The pre-workout meal should be something on the smaller side, think 250-400 calories depending on your current intake levels, since you don’t want to go into a workout feeling stuffed. This meal should be primarily composed of carbohydrates with some protein. The reason you want to choose something higher in carbohydrates is so your body has something use as fuel during the workout. Your body breaks down all calories into glucose to create energy (ATP!) and carbohydrates are the easiest and quickest for the body to breakdown (then protein, then fat). The pre-workout meal should be consumed 30-90 minutes prior to working out (depending on activity and meal). Personally, I prefer 1/2 PB&J about 30 minutes before a run or lift. Some other good options include: banana (or other fruit) & peanut butter, 2-3 rice cakes & nut butter, breakfast taco (eggs, tortilla, turkey sausage), or 2 banana muffins.
Many of you reading have probably consumed a protein shake or two in your time, especially, if you’re an avid gym-goer. Protein shakes are a great choice for the post-workout meal because they contain both carbohydrates and proteins. Your body needs carbohydrates to replenish the stores you burned up during your workout, and your body needs protein so your muscles can grow and repair. The post-workout meal is best consumed within 60 minutes of finishing your workout – obviously, do what’s best for your schedule but you do not need to consume your protein shake while you’re still at the gym (unless you want to!) Some good post-workout meals include: protein shakes, a sandwich of some kind, burrito bowl, rice & meat or beans, or eggs and pancakes.