What to eat before and after a workout. How often do you think about exactly what you’re going to eat before you exercise? How about what you’re going to eat when you’re done exercising? And no, I’m not talking about that big bowl of ice cream that you’re trying to earn while you’re slaving away on the treadmill. I’m talking about really planning your pre and post-workout fueling so that you get maximum results from your fitness efforts.
Pre – Workout (Energy Phase) – While it is true that exercising on an empty stomach will allow you to burn fat stores during your workout, it does not actually translate to a reduction in body fat. When you are burning fat during exercise, inevitably, you are working out at a lower intensity and burning fewer calories per minute. Eating a pre-workout meal or snack will give you energy, stamina, and help blast through your fat stores and build muscle. Here are some pre-workout options:
- Option 1 : Eat a nutritionally balanced meal 1-2 hours before training. If you want to burn 600 calories, aim for 300-calorie meal. Few options are salad with greens, lettuce wraps, banana, chia seed, custard, smoothie, vegetable omelette.
- Option 2 : Eat a snack 60-90 minutes before training. Aim for 100-200 calories and a combination of lean protein and slow acting carbs. Few options are fruit and yogurt, protein shake, peanut butter and apple, fruits and cottage cheese, banana and almonds.
Post – Workout (Anabolic Phase) – It is important to refuel and recover with meals that combine the right balance of protein and carbohydrates post workout. For best results, eat within 30-60 minutes after exercise when your muscle are most receptive. This will ensure your body has the fuel it needs to recover, adapt, and improve. Here are some post-workout options:
- Option 1 : Snack immediately following a workout. Few options are protein shake, kefir, dried fruit and nuts and banana.
- Option 2 : Meal immediately following a workout. few options are quinoa, black bean and rice soup, tofu stir fry and brown rice, sweet potato and chicken.
As you can see, when it comes to getting fit, nutrition is just as big a part of the equation as exercise. That doesn’t mean you need to arrive at the gym with a grocery shopping bag full of fruit, or a 24-pack of energy drinks, but it does mean that you should plan ahead to give your body the fuel it needs for fitness.