What you eat leading up to and immediately after your workout can have a huge impact on your performance and recovery from exercise, not to mention your progression results!
It pays off to pay attention to what you eat. Follow these super easy tips to ensure you’re getting the right fuel in at the right time.
Pre-Workout Meal: 2-3 hours before exercise
• Pre-exercise meals should consist of lower-glycemic carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats to stabilize blood sugar levels and provide a slow and steady release of energy.
• Try: Brown rice bowl with avocado, veggies & lean protein
Pre-Workout Snack: 30 minutes before exercise
• Pre-exercise snacks should be high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fat to allow for faster digestion.
• Try: 1 piece of fruit such as a banana, blueberries or apple or a fruit smoothie
During Workout: during exercise
• If your workout is less than 60 minutes or lower intensity, you’ll probably only need water or an electrolyte drink during your activity. For those longer, higher intensity workouts, refueling is critical so you don’t gas-out, cramp up or under achieve on your goal. Easily digestible carbs are your go-to here.
• Try: Energy balls, coconut water, glucose packets, dried fruit or a banana.
Post-Workout Snack: within 15 minutes after exercise
• Fast acting carbs and proteins will help ensure your muscles get exactly what they need to kick-start recovery. Refueling immediately after you workout will help reduce muscle stiffness, improve recovery time, and enhance performance.
• Try: A post-workout protein smoothie with roughly 40g of protein and a fruit of your choice. Whey, if tolerated, is the preferable protein for strength-training athletes
Post-Workout Meal: within 90 minutes after exercise
• To restore muscle glycogen stores rapidly, eat complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates can increase the insulin in your blood dropping blood sugar levels. Especially important after strength training, aim for a snack with a protein/carb ratio of 1:4 in the form of a supplement or meal
• Try: Whole-grain pasta, lean protein, such as chicken, fish, turkey, yams or sweet potato, lentils, beans & lots of colourful veggies
Dr. Alaina Overton, ND