Eating around training times is critical to getting the most out of your training sessions. What you eat before and after your workout could be the difference between meeting your goals and not.
Before training - AIM: to fuel your body
Carbohydrates are your body's preferred fuel source - and you need carbs in order to fuel your body so that it can train at its best - gain muscle, burn fat, and recover effectively. Simple carbs are fast digesting and will provide your body with energy quickly.
- Apple slices topped with natural peanut butter
- Slice toast or rice cakes topped with banana
- Muesli bar
- Greek yoghurt
- Eggs on toast
- Traditional oats topped with fruit
Many people find that they prefer to train on an empty stomach for 2 main reasons:
1. Some choose to train without eating because they find eating beforehand makes them feel uncomfortable and even nauseous - and this is fine.
2. Others prefer to train on an empty stomach in order to tap into their fat stores immediately - again this is fine. There is a lot of buzz about working out on in a fasted state for this reason. On the one hand it taps into your fat stores but it can also mean you don't have as much energy to workout as hard as you could if you had some fuel in the tank. It's a personal choice and one which you will need to assess depending on how you feel hen you workout.
I will generally exercise on an empty stomach if I am doing cardio, but for weight training or a higher intensity workout which can be quite taxing I will always eat beforehand. So, yes I eat carbs and I eat the majority of them before and after a workout.
It really depends on what type of exercise you are doing and for how long. If you are going for a power walk, for example, you don't need much (if anything) to eat beforehand. Lower intensity workouts won't require the same fuel as higher intensity ones. Again, assess how you feel.
I recommend eating around 1-2 hours before a workout, depending on the size of your meal, to give your body enough time to digest the food.
After training - AIM: to repair/recover
A post workout snack or meal 30-60mins after your workout can help your body repair the damage done to your cells from training and help you to recover quicker. After exercise your muscles are depleted of glycogen (stored form of carbohydrates). If you don't eat anything after your workout your body starts to look for what else is available in the body - which is usually protein (ie.muscle) - a scenario you want to avoid because the more muscle you have the more efficient your body will be at burning fat.
The best thing to eat after your workout is a mix of protein and complex carbs - both of which will help in the muscle building process, prevent any muscle loss and aid in recovery.
- Protein shake
- Protein bar
- Low fat Chocolate milk - believe it or not has the right mix of protein and carbs.
- Yoghurt with fruit
- Chicken salad with pumpkin/sweet potato/rice
- Protein bar
- Egg on toast
I always have a protein shake immediately after a workout because it is fast digesting and it's convenient.
And, don't forget to HYDRATE before, during and after your workout.
If you need help with meal planning or nutrition drop me a line.