Pre & Post Workout Fuel
Whether your primary goal is fat loss, muscle build or weight management, your workouts need to be supported by smart nutrition choices.
What you eat before and after your workout can have a major impact on the quality of your workouts and the results you get from your hard, sweaty efforts.
Pre-workout Nutrition is for performance during your workout and Post-Workout is for recovery after your workout.
Proper pre-workout nutrition will help you get faster and greater gains from your workout. It will give your body that little extra boost it needs to push out a few extra reps, and the strength to increase your weights.
The key to great workouts is intensity — if your body is tired and hungry, the intensity just won’t be there.
I recommend eating a small meal 30-45minutes before your workout.
A proper pre-workout meal should include:
Fast-digesting carbs (a.k.a. simple carbs) will provide you with the energy you need to get through an intense workout. Dextrose and maltodextrin are at the top of the list followed by fructose, sucrose or lactose. Just make sure to avoid sources that contain high fructose corn syrup.
Some people (me included) however prefer a slower digesting carb like a gluten-free grain such as quinoa or oats prior to a workouts. I recommend you experiment with both to determine which type of carb supports better workout performance for you.
Proteins are the essential building blocks of muscle. I recommend lean, fast-digesting proteins like eggs, white fish or protein powder. Eating proteins that are higher in fats, such as salmon or red meat, takes the body longer to digest and may cause cramping or bloating during your workout.
After a workout, your muscles are weaker, because they have been torn down and damaged by an intense workout. In addition, your glycogen stores (your muscles’ energy) have been used up.
I recommend eating within 30min-45min after your workout to help stop any further breakdown of your muscle tissue and replenish your glycogen stores.
A proper post-workout meal should include:
When consumed after a workout will help to replenish fuel sources (muscle glycogen). If your post workout meal does not contain carbs your body may actually breakdown muscle tissue for this same purpose. Carbs also create an insulin spike which helps to move nutrients into your muscle tissue quicker.
Since the post workout meal is all about speed, fast digesting carbs (a.k.a. simple carbs) are better than slow-digesting carbs (a.k.a. complex carbs).
Proteins are the essential building blocks of muscle, so to begin the repairing and rebuilding of your muscle tissue after an intense workout, consuming a fast-digesting protein is essential.
Whole food based sources of protein are not ideal for it takes longer for the body to breakdown. The ideal protein source would be protein powder. Whey protein is digested at a very fast rate, whey concentrated is the slowest, whey isolate is the next, while hydrolyzed whey will digest the quickest. A mixture of hydrolyzed whey, isolate and whey concentrate would be best to moderate the rate of absorption.
Right after a workout your muscle are like sponges, ready to absorb everything and anything you feed them, which is why you need to focus on the timing and the quality of this meal.
Drink Your Post Workout Meal
While you can absolutely eat a whole food meal after a workout, this is not the best option for fast delivery of nutrients to begin the recovery process.
I recommend a post workout recovery shake.
Your shake should contain about 200-250 calories, 30grams of carbohydrates and 15 grams of protein: A 2:1 ratio.
This will provide your body with the “building blocks” to refuel your muscles as well as to repair and rebuild your muscle tissue.
Avoid post workout shakes that exceed 250 calories and 35grams of carbs. An excess can cause fat storage even after a fat burning workout; your body only has so much room to take in and use nutrients that you are consuming after a workout.
If a post workout shake is not an option, you may choose to consume a fast digesting protein paired with a fast digesting carbohydrate – just keep these guidelines in mind.
(200-250 calories, 2:1 ratio carbs to protein)
Some examples – fruit, fruit juice, yogurt, cottage cheese, egg whites, lean white fish,
Make sure your drink plenty of water before, during and after your workouts. It is very tough for your muscles to work and recuperate if they are dehydrated.
THE MOST Important Guideline!!!
NO NOT Add Fats to your Pre OR Post Workout Meal
Healthy fats like peanut butter, or other nut butters, seeds and nuts, olive oil, and even avocado are excellent sources of essential omega-3 fats that can actually enhance the body’s fat-burning capacity.
However, there are two times of the day when you want to keep fat intake to a bare minimum: pre- and post-workout.
I recommend that you keep your fat intake under five grams for your pre-workout and post-workout meals. Healthy Fats will slow down the digestion of protein, the absorption of carbs and can blunt blood flow to muscles and suppress your body’s ability to slow down your natural growth hormone levels. All of which you DO NOT want when you are looking to maximize your workout gains.
Take your muscle building and fat loss plan to the next level by ensuring you fuel your body with the right type of pre & post workout meals.
“If you can’t fuel it, you can’t use it.”
Commit to planning and preparing your pre & post workout meals following the above guidelines to optimize your fat loss and muscle building potential.