Categorized | Workouts & Routines

Pre-Post-Workout Nutrition – 10 Tips

What are you putting into your body before or after a workout? Proper nutrition can vastly improve your results from resistance and/or cardiovascular training. You will properly fuel the body, recover more quickly from workouts, and you’ll see positive changes in your body. Here’s 10 simple steps you should follow when it comes to pre and post-workout nutrition.

1. Consume a preexercise carbohydrate snack 15-60 minutes before an exercise bout. Fruit is an excellent choice because it typically will not upset your stomach. This will increase available carbohydrates necessary for intense exercise. Failing to do follow this crucial step can lead to poor performance, injury, fatigue and/or overtraining.

2. Consume carbohydrate-rich foods immediately after exercise. Muscles convert carbohydrate-rich foods into glycogen (storage form of carbohydrate in the muscles and liver) up to 3 times faster than at other times. Glycogen is the main source of fuel for exercise…so if you’re low on it you’re not going to be able work out intensely. This also means the carbohydrates you eat after exercise will not be stored as body fat. Yes, that even includes Lucky Charms.

3. Stay hydrated during your session. Dehydration will lead to a performance decrement. Unless your exercise bout lasts longer than 90 minutes, you typically will not have to consume energy drinks or gels.

4. Eating a small amount of protein (15-30 grams) postexercise will enhance glycogen storage, limit muscle damage, and begin the repair process. Whey protein in the form of liquid (shake) will be absorbed by the body most efficiently.

5. The sooner you can consume a source of protein and carbohydrate postexercise, the better. Fifteen to 30 minutes after is ideal. Consider drinking a protein shake, but check the label to make sure it has carbohydrates. A smoothie is probably the best choice because of the carbohydrates in the fruit.

6. Eat a protein and carbohydrate-rich meal 2 hours after your exercise. This will continue to store glycogen as well as repair the muscle damage you did during your session.

7. These tips are for serious exercise bouts. If you go on a 1-mile walk with your dog, you don’t need to down a protein shake and shove quinoa down your throat 15 minutes afterwards. Let’s get serious folks.

8. Follow these tips for both resistance and endurance exercise. However, these are more important to implement after a resistance training session. If your endurance session includes interval portions or is fairly intense or long, then these tips definitely apply.

9. Did you notice all of the carbohydrates you should be eating? Don’t follow the Atkins diet and try to follow an intense exercise regimen. As aforementioned, carbohydrates are your main source of energy for activity.

10. Don’t eat a bunch of cotton candy and chips after a workout because I told you to eat carbohydrates. Fruit, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, cous-cous and quinoa (yes I said it again) are all much better choices.

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