People often ask what they should eat before and after a workout. It is a common concern and the answer varies from person to person based on how they eat and how hard they train. Regardless of when you work out, you want to have enough energy during your session and enough after for your recovery.
You want to start by staying hydrated. You will want to drink water before, during and after your workout. Staying hydrated will help your body to process calories effectively, and keep your metabolism from slowing down.
When you have 2-3 hours before your workout, eat a mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fats within the 300-400 calorie range, about 3 hours before you work out. A lunch of lean protein, veggies and some avocado or hummus would be perfect meal.
As you get closer to your scheduled workout, have a snack of mostly carbs with a bit of protein under 200 calories. The mixture of carbs and proteins will keep you fueled and reduce the likelihood of muscle soreness.
When you have a short window of time, 15 to 30 minutes, to fuel up before your workout, grab a snack you will digest easily. A banana or a handful or raisins are a good choice. I typically drink energize first thing in the morning & workout 15 minutes later. This is enough for my body to push through a double workout.
An even shorter window, calls for a snack of simple carbs, 8 oz of coconut water, a few dark chocolate chips, a kind bar or a slice of ezekiel bread. You want something that will give you an immediate energy boost, but will not cause digestive discomfort.
In the morning, there are other things to consider. Overnight your body stores glycogen, a multibranched polysaccharide of glucose that acts as a form of energy. It is the body’s preferred source of energy and you may have enough in reserve to skip a morning meal until after your workout. A glass of water is all you may need before a morning workout o erin my case Energize.
However if you tend to eat lean and work out hard, which a lot of us do, your body may have used up your glycogen stores in your recovery overnight. The best thing to do is to eat half a banana or half a serving of Results and Recovery Formula. As you work out, pay attention to your body. If you feel better by the end a workout, your body was likely running low on glycogen. This lets you know you need to up your glycogen stores by either eating a banana before your morning workout or by adding a few more carbs to your evening meal. It is important to keep your glycogen stores prior to your workout, so that you have enough energy to get you through a hard cardio or weight training session. The last thing you want is to run out of steam and attempt to finish your workout fatigued.
Take a cue from Tony Horton and get something in your stomach. He fuels up on wheat toast with almond butter, then waits about 15 to 20 minutes before starting his work out. Tony suggests if you are doing a cardio workout, you may need to eat a little more, and wait between 30-60 minutes after eating before working out. If it’s a weight training session, he says you can wait a little less. Experiment to see what will work for you everyone is a little different.
After your workout, you will need to replenish the glycogen you have burned through during your workout to help with your recovery. Eating a meal or snack within 30 minutes of your workout will help rebuild and keep your metabolism cranking. The longer you wait to refuel, the less your body is able to refill muscles stores. It is a good idea to plan and bring your post workout meal with you to the gym, or have it waiting for you if you work out at home.
The best after work out meal is a mix of carbs and protein. Try cereal with milk, fruit and yogurt or a serving of Recover from the Beachbody performance line. A Shakeology shake with a half a banana and unsweetened coconut milk is also a good option. It has all the dense nutrition your body needs to keep it running well and aid in your workout recovery.
Whatever you chose to do, the most important thing is to listen to your body. There are things that may work for your friend or partner, but may not be right for you and your body. Really pay attention to your stamina and how you are feeling during and after your workout. This will help you to make the best decisions based on your body.
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