When I was training in Thailand my Pre and Post meals were extremely important, especially if I was to get through the 3 hour training sessions. If my training started at 7:00AM, that meant that I was up and eating at 6:00AM.
Before you workout your body needs ample time to digest what you’ve put in it. A good rule of thumb is always to wait 1 hour prior to training. You want to make sure that you have enough time to digest the food before you embark on your crazy workout.
Post workout nutrition should be eaten NO LONGER than 1 hour after exercise. If you delay eating longer than an hour after your workout then your body begins to take those muscles you just worked so hard to get and deplete them by using them as energy for the rest of the day or night.
I bolded that line because I know so many people that do not follow the rule of eating no longer than 1 hour after working out. If you are not doing it now, then start today.
WHAT YOU NEED TO EAT
Prior to starting your workout, the best foods are in the form of carbohydrates. Yes I said carbs. Carbs are not bad for you when choosing the right ones.
A pre-exercise meal should include foods that are complex and slow digesting . Foods low in carbs will will release glucose gradually into the blood stream, which is what you want prior to your session to help prolong physical endurance.
Don’t forget that it’s just as important to eat smart after your workout has subsided and you’ve come down. After a workout, your body is like a sponge, ready to soak up the nutrients in food to restore energy and replenish your muscles.
A mixed meal high in carbohydrates with moderate portion of protein and fat soon after completing the workout is best to help re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise.
The right foods alone won’t get you through a workout – you’ll have to get the right hydration with water while you exercise.
You should drink at least at least 16 ounces of water two hours before a workout, and about 6 to 12 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise. (An ounce is about a mouthful.)
WHAT YOU SHOULD EAT LIST
Some food suggestions prior to a workout include:
- Vegetables like celery, cucumber, tomatoes
- Low-fat yogurt
- Fresh fruit such as cherries, plum, peach
- Healthy Cereal
- Oat bran bread
Post workout you can increase the protein to restore those muscles.
Some suggestions are:
- Post Workout Shake with 3-1 Carbs to Protein
- Bagel with jelly
- Baked potato
- Stir-fried chicken and vegetables over brown rice
- Watermelon, banana
FOODS TO AVOID BEFORE EXERCISE
Any foods with a lot of fat can be very difficult and slow to digest and remain in the stomach a long time. They also will pull blood into the stomach to aid in digestion, which can cause cramping and discomfort. Meats, doughnuts, fries, potato chips, and candy bars should be avoided.
I suggest not have any sugar prior to your workout as some people do not perform well after a blood glucose spike.
If you’re squeezing a workout into a busy schedule, you may be tempted to grab a protein bar on the way out the door, but DON’T DO IT. Most bars are “glorified candy bars, often providing even more calories and are likely to be loaded with sugar.
Caffeine can have serious side effects for some people. Those who are very sensitive to its effects may experience nausea, muscle tremors, and headaches. Too much caffeine is a diuretic, and can result in dehydration, which decreases performance.
In conclusion, if you’re going to invest the time to put yourself through a productive workout, then it’s imperative to nourish your body correctly pre and post workout.
Train Hard, Eat Healthy, Fight Eazy!
Your Coach and Friend
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