What To Eat Before, During And After A Workout
What to eat before, during and after a workout for optimal athletic performance
Nutrition has a significant impact on the results we achieve in the gym. Although, you have probably heard this before, it is very true. In one of our previous articles, we discussed nutrient timing and body composition. In this article, we are going to talk about what to eat before, during and after a workout for optimal athletic performance.
THE VIDEO: Eat THIS Before, During and After a Workout (For Optimal Athletic Performance)
Pre-workout nutrition is sometimes not given as much attention as post-workout nutrition. We cannot have a good and effective session if we are not eating the right food beforehand to fuel our body well. What we eat before a session will have a great impact on how well we can perform during that session. During a workout, we want to make sure that we have enough carbohydrates available for metabolic functions to improve performance, preserve muscle mass, perform at maximum intensity and stay hydrated. If we are eating solid food, 2-3 hours will give you time to digest and make that energy readily available. This should consist of a meal made up of medium to fast digesting proteins and slower digesting carbs such as eggs with wholegrain bread or tuna and brown rice. If that’s not possible, high carbohydrate liquids with some protein in them, shakes, gels etc., will be digested quicker and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal problems during the session as well as provide fluid to maintain your hydration status. You might want to supplement with creatine and beta alanine as well for energy production and conservation.
Chances are you won’t need food during your session as you should be fuelled from your pre-workout meal a few hours before. It is unlikely that you will be training for longer than 1.5 or 2 hours at a go. If you are doing a prolonged intense workout, you may require some carbohydrates to maintain your blood sugar and energy levels which, can be obtained from a carbohydrate drink. The body can only absorb up to 20g per hour so there is no need to drink large amounts of it. Other intra-workout aids that you might want to use are electrolytes which, are usually found in carbohydrate drinks and BCAAs which, elevate the amino acid levels in the blood stream. Most importantly, make sure you stay well hydrated with water too.
Refuelling your body after a workout is crucial for recovery and beneficial to your next session. It allows you to build muscle and decrease the chances of DOMS. Eating after training will induce a spike in insulin that is an anabolic hormone which, will in turn help you build muscle by increasing protein synthesis. Since your glycogen levels are depleted after you have worked out, you need to eat easily digestible simple carbohydrate and protein. Try to have a protein shake and a banana as soon as you finish your session and then have a meal around 1-2hrs after such as chicken breast, potatoes and vegetables.
Above, we have discussed a few strategies to help you fuel and recover from your sessions by going over what to eat before, during and after a workout. If you don’t use these already, give them and go and see how you feel. You might need to adjust them a little but the main message is that you need to consume slow digesting carbs and medium digesting protein to fuel your session and fast absorbing carbs and protein after your workout to replenish the depleted glycogen levels and start the process of protein synthesis.