Some questions we get all the time at the gym are what to eat before and after workout and how important is nutrient timing.
First off, the quality of the food you’re eating and how much of it is going to be a lot more important than what time you eat it at but sometimes getting a good pre workout meal in can be a huge difference maker in your workout performance.
These are going to be some general guidelines, if you want more specific help you can always book a consultation with Healthy Blueprint here to see how you can get your nutrition dialed in.
Pre Workout Nutrition:
Ideally your pre workout meal should be 1-3 hours prior to your workout. This will give it adequate time to digest so you don’t feel pukey on your first run in the warm up.
Our goal for our pre workout meal is to give us enough energy throughout our workout without bogging us down.
Protein: When we workout, we’re breaking down our muscle tissue and protein helps our body rebuild that tissue faster. A quick digesting scoop of protein is a good bet prior to your workout but a lean meat or low fat Greek yogurt is great too assuming your digestive system can handle that.
Carbs: Carbs are going to be your quickest digesting nutrient source. Fruit is a great option right before you workout as it is a healthy carb source which will give you a jolt of energy right before your WOD. Bananas, apples, blueberries, and raspberries are good sources to start off with. You can even blend them into a smoothie with a scoop of Ascent Protein to give you a great pre workout 1-2 punch.
Fats: While fats are packed with vitamins and nutrients and are great for fighting hunger, they aren’t going to necessarily improve your workout performance. They can also have a tendency to sit in the stomach a bit heavy since they slow down digestion.
Hydration: We all know how vital hydration is and should be gradually consuming water throughout our day. Adequate hydration can make or break our workout for the day. 8-10 oz of water right before class starts and continually sipping on some water throughout is going to be optimal. We want to avoid chugging water in large quantities as this will give us a sloshing feeling in our stomach as we run, jump, lift, and climb. If you feel lightheaded during a workout, that is typically an indicator of dehydration and we want to make sure we do a better job of drinking water before our next workout.
Post workout meal:
With our post workout meal, we want to get a head star on letting our body recover in addition to rehydrating and refueling.
There is an old bro-science term called the anabolic window which states that you’re wasting your workout if you don’t eat within 30 minutes of completing it. While 30 minutes post workout is optimal, it isn’t a requirement and you don’t need to worry about all of your gainz going away.
Remember, the farther away your pre workout meal was from your workout, the more important our post workout meal is since our body is now looking for fuel to repair our muscles.
Protein: Now that we’ve broken down our muscle fibers, it's time to start the recovery process with a healthy serving of protein! Any source is great whether it is in the form of a powder, lean meat, eggs, or Greek yogurt.
Carbs: It's time to refill the tank with minimally processed, complex carbs. Oats, sweet potatoes, rice, and fruit will help your body replenish its glycogen stores that were depleted during the WOD.
Fats: No need to stray away from our healthy fats here. Fats will help regulate our hormone levels in addition to containing our vitamins and minerals. Make sure you add some nuts, avocado, or healthy oils to your post workout meal.
Hydration: We can’t stress the importance of post workout hydration! While you don’t want to guzzle a gallon of water immediately after your workout, we do want to be continuously drinking water throughout the rest of our day so we can replenish the fluids we sweat out during our WOD.
Focus more so on eating quality foods and how much you’re eating first. Once that is dialed in, then we can focus on nutrient timing.
Ideally, eat your pre workout meal 1-3 hours before you workout.
Eat your post workout meal as soon as you get home from the gym.
Do what works best for you. If your pre workout meal makes you feel good and adequately fueled, keep doing that. If it makes you feel sick or sluggish then we probably want to avoid that.
If you’re looking for more individual help click here to book a consultation with Tayler from Healthy Blueprint!
Article written by Cameron Andrews, Owner/Operator, CrossFit Auburndale