Are you interested in learning more about pre and post-workout nutrition, but don’t know where to start? I used to think pre and post-workout nutrition was something only body builders did. Now I realize it’s important for anyone who is committed to a healthy lifestyle. Get the lowdown on pre/post workout nutrition with these seven simple tips!
1. You Don’t Need to Eat like a Sumo Wrestler
People think pre-workout nutrition often means they need to eat a massive amount of food. But they honestly couldn’t be further from the truth. The whole concept of “fueling up” before a workout is honestly a little overrated. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t eat something before working out, but a banana with a drizzle of peanut butter packs 150-200 calories and is the perfect amount of carbs, protein, and fat to give you energy. A larger portion than this might leave you feeling sluggish instead.
2. Consider the Three Basic Macronutrients
Remember back in the day when you learned about protein, carbohydrate, and fat? It seems like everyone is talking about these three basic macronutrients these days, and it’s important to understand that you’ll be getting different ratios of these macronutrients depending on your workout and whether it’s a pre or post-workout meal. For instance, pre-workout meals tend to be more carb-based to provide energy, while post-workout meals tend to be more protein-based to facilitate recovery.
3. Timing is Super Important
Timing is especially important, especially for post-workout meals. You’ve got about a 30-minute window following your workout to fuel yourself properly and reap the rewards of your hard work. This means if you have to pack your post-workout meal in your bag or eat it in the car, just do it!
4. Make It Easy on Your Self & do Some Meal Prep Beforehand
Speaking of meal prep, considering the time crunch you’re in with pre and post-workout nutrition, try to make your meals as simple as possible and do most of the prep work beforehand. Grilled chicken and half a sweet potato from the last night makes a simple post-workout meal that can easily be microwaved or eaten on the run!
5. Avoid Unnatural Foods like Protein Shakes
Most athletes and body builders swear by a certain brand of protein powder for their post-workout nutrition or like to consume a certain sugary pre-workout drink before exercising. Honestly, I’m not a fan of either. I’d much rather you eat real, whole foods and real carbs/fats/protein than some powdered and processed drink.
6. It’s Important to Be Consistent
Don’t think you can follow a perfect pre and post-workout nutrition plan one day and get toned the next day. For pre and post-workout nutrition to work, you need to do it every day! It might be a little tedious, but give it a good 4-6 weeks and see if you notice any results.
7. Something Different Works for Everyone
This goes to say that no meal plan or diet works for everyone. You might notice you do better working out on an empty stomach. You might be a vegan and have different protein needs. Bottom line, figure out the pre and post-workout regiment that works for you, even if that involves a little trial and error.
Pre and post-workout nutrition might sound like it’s something only body builders do, but it definitely has its place in a variety of nutrition and fitness programs. What are your favorite foods to nosh on pre and post-workout?