We sometimes are unsure of how much food or what we should be eating before and after our workout. The answer is: it depends on the type of goal of your training session. From here we can determine the best pre-workout meal or snack.
Eating before your Workout
If you want to achieve optimal performance and get the most out of a training session (for strength, speed, power, or skill sessions), a pre-workout meal or snack rich in carbohydrates is usually recommended. The goal of this meal will be to provide fuel and to delay fatigue.
Keep an eye on hydration too! Ideally, you should start a training session well hydrated. Make sure you drink fluids before too.
Everyone is different so the time you eat before a training session will be varied (and will also change depending on the type of activity you are doing). Generally, it is recommended to eat 15 to 120 minutes prior to starting your workout, depending on how well you tolerate foods and are able to train without having any gastrointestinal discomfort.
To allow for faster absorption and utilization, it is recommended to pick snacks or foods that provide easy-to-digest carbohydrates and to avoid high fiber or high-fat foods.
SOME PRE-TRAINING SNACK EXAMPLES
- A piece of fruit
- A glass of natural fruit juice
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- Muesli or oats with fruit
- Granola bars
- Fruit, natural yogurt, and nuts
- Rice cakes with fruit
Generally, macronutrient breakdown for a pre-workout meal would look like this:
- Carbohydrates – depends on the length and the goal of the training session but around 0.4 to 1.2g/kg body weight
- Proteins – depends on the training session but around 0 to 0.25g/kg body weight
- Fats – as minimum as possible (0 to 0.1g/kg body weight)
Caffeine can work as a great pre-workout drink. Have a cup (or 2) of coffee before your morning or early afternoon training sessions. Make it iced if it’s hot outside!
Eating after your Workout
The post-workout meal is key to start the recovery process after a training session. The ideal amounts for each individual may vary depending on goals and type of training session but generally, recovery meals and snacks should contain:
- Carbohydrates to replenish and refuel (fruits, vegetables, grains, or starches)
- Proteins for muscle repair and development (chicken, fish, beef, protein supplements)
- Plenty of fluids and electrolytes to replace fluid loss from sweating
SOME POST-TRAINING MEAL EXAMPLES
- Sandwich with turkey breast ham, mozzarella cheese, avocado, lettuce, and tomato + 1 cup watermelon
- 2 scrambled eggs with vegetables + 2 slices of whole wheat bread
- 120g salmon + 1 cup brown rice + 2 cups mixed vegetables
- Protein shake: 1 scoop protein supplement + almond milk + oats + ½ banana
Pre and post-workout nutrition doesn’t have to be too complicated, and knowing what to eat before and after your workout can improve your performance and aid the recovery process.
If you are interested to learn more and get professional and tailored advice regarding nutrition, speak to us and we can help you with our Nutrition Ignition program!