Pre & post workout nutrition is a bit of a minefield. We all want to get the most out of our workouts, which means getting the necessary nutrition and at the right times.
Questions like: do we have our protein before or after working out? Should we be eating a protein and fat or a protein and carb meal?
Well hopefully I can shed some light on this for you.
Why should I have a pre-workout meal?
A pre workout meal/snack is essential to fuel your muscles in order for you to get the full benefit of your workout.
You should have completely digested your meal approx 30mins prior to exercising. I recommend having your meal an hour befoehand to achieve this.
So.. what should I eat?
Protein- lean meats, fish, a high quality protein powder (I use Sunwarrior warrior blend)
Low GI carbs – brown rice, oats, quinoa, sweet potato.
A dose of fats – pre workout is the ideal time to have high quality fats. Olive oil, coconut oil, nut butter, flaxseed are great options.
Is it really necessary for me to eat straight after I exercise?
After you’ve finished at the gym, it’s essential to get protein within a 30-60 minute window, then follow up with a balanced meal at your convenience. Immediately after your workout, you should stick to w protein and carbohydrate based snack, as having fats will slow down the rate at which protein will get to your muscles. However fats are essential to muscle building so add them to your meal a couple of hours later.
The reason for post workout nutrition is 2 fold: replenishing glycogen and preventing protein breakdown in the muscles.
After we exercise, we are actually weaker as our muscles have been torn. Therefore they need protein and carbohydrates in order to repair and increase lean muscle mass.
If you do not replenish within that window, your muscles will go into a catabolic state, wherein they start to ‘eat’ themselves in order to get protein – resulting in muscle loss.
Post workout nutrition is similar to pre workout, focus on protein, low GI carbs and up your intake of leafy vegetables.
I recommend bringing snacks with you to ensure you’re eating within that optimum window. My spirulina balls are full of protein and healthy fats from the cashews so make a great pre-workout snack, whilst my vanilla cookie protein balls will make sure you’re getting protein and quick releasing carbs!
It’s been great to see you all making and enjoying my recipes, please keep on sharing them with me!