The most difficult part about a workout is probably not the workout itself, but the food intake around it. Specifically, planning the quantity and types of food you need to eat before and after the workout. Eat too little – you’ll feel out of gas and unable to lift properly. Eat too much or too close to the workout and you’ll probably start feeling too sick continue your workout.
Different goals require different diets, a sprinter may need to eat differently than a long distance runner, and a bodybuilder may need to eat differently than a powerlifter, but these general few tips about pre and post workout nutrition will come in handy.
What should you eat before the workout
You basically need to eat low glycemic carbohydrates and easy digesting protein about 2-3 hours before your workout. Why ? Because these foods will keep your blood sugar levels stable and your energy levels steady during the workout.
What foods fall under this category ? Whole wheat bread, peanut butter (without added sugar), walnuts, almonds, apples or bananas. For protein you could use boiled eggs or whey protein powder. You can also use the combination of oatmeal, whey protein and a fruit. The fiber in oatmeal won’t allow the fruit sugars to be absorbed too quickly.
The combination of easy absorbing protein and slow digesting carbs will ensure you have the needed energy for the workout and the amino acids required for the body to start repairing itself from the workout induced trauma.
What should you eat after the workout
How you eat after the workout can have a great impact on how well you will recover. Almost everybody rushes to get a protein shake after they have completed the workout, but what your body needs first and foremost is to replenish the glycogen it has lost during the intense physical activity and then some protein to rebuild the damaged muscle cells.
This is why, after your workout, you need a combination of high glycemic carbohydrates and some quality protein. You can have some rice, white bread, even something sweet and for protein you can use some lean meat, eggs or whey protein again. After 2-3 hours you can have a fully balanced meal again – veggies, brown rice, potatoes, lean meat or fish.
These little tips will get you on the right path so you can actually concentrate in the workout itself.