You can work your butt off in the gym but if your nutrition isn’t dialed in you won’t get the results you could be getting. It is possible to out-eat even the best workout routine so pay attention to what you’re putting into your body. Let’s look at how to eat to get results from your workouts.
What you eat before your workout can make or break your workout. You need energy. If you don’t eat enough you’ll feel sluggish. If you eat too much you’ll feel sluggish and have to deal with gastrointestinal discomfort. The main purposes of your pre-workout meal is to provide energy so you can perform at your best, help preserve/build muscle mass and help with your recovery. You need to provide your body with carbs, protein and fat. The amounts and sources will depend on how close to workout time it is.
2-3 hours before:
This is when you can have a larger meal. Try a palm sized portion of meat (or meat alternative if you’re vegetarian) with veggies (salad is good) and a half cup of starchy carbs such as potatoes or rice and a healthy fat such as a tablespoon of olive oil if you’re having salad or an ounce of nuts.
Less than 1 hour before:
If you have less than an hour before your workout you need something that you can digest more quickly. Try a cup of yogurt with some fruit, or a protein shake with some fruit. You can make a great smoothie with protein powder, a banana and a bit of peanut (or other nut) butter.
During Your Workout
The main thing for the average person is to stay well hydrated while working out so water will do. If you’re training for endurance and will be spending over 90 minutes working out or you’re going to be working out in extreme heat use a high-quality sport drink that has carbs, a bit of protein and electrolytes.
Post Workout Nutrition
It is essential that you refuel after your workouts so your body can repair itself and get stronger. If you skip out on a healthy post workout meal you won’t get the results you could be getting and you risk injuring yourself or ending up sick. Your post workout meal needs to help you recover, rehydrate and repair so your future performance won’t suffer. I like to have a protein shake with a high glycemic carb such as a banana right after my workout. The high glycemic carb makes your body release insulin and insulin is basically what’s going to deliver amino acids from your protein shake to your muscles so they can start repairing themselves.
Within the next 2 hours sit down and have a whole food meal that includes protein (meat, eggs, hemp), carbs (veggies as well as a starchy carb such as yams or rice) and a healthy fat (olive oil, avocado, nuts). This 2 hour window is where your body will get the most benefit from your post workout nutrition.
Eat For Success!
When you’re trying to get fit and healthy working out is only a small part of it. Your nutrition is actually about 80% of your success so make sure you’re paying attention to what you’re doing. Work hard, eat hard and enjoy your amazing results!