Eating Before and After Exercise

[We exercise to maintain good health but often times forget about the importance of nutrition. Proper nutrition is key so that your body has the energy to perform tough workouts as well as for everyday tasks. What you eat before and after your workouts will affect the quality of your training sessions and post workout recovery. Also important is how long you eat before and after each workout.

Whether you are going to be doing a cardio workout or a resistance workout, it is important to eat a mix of carbohydrates and protein pre and post workout. The percentage of carbs and protein consumed will depend on the type of workout and the intensity.

The ideal time to eat your pre-workout meal is 1 hour before you start. If you are working at a lower intensity level, keep this meal down to around 200 calories or so. If you are working at a higher intensity level, this meal to be as high as 400 to 500 calories.

 If you are doing a cardio session, eat a mix of around 2/3 carbohydrates and 1/3 protein. This will give you longer sustained energy from the extra carbs with enough protein to keep muscle from breaking down during your workout.

If you are doing a resistance session, eat a mix of around 1/3 carbohydrates and 2/3 protein. This will give you enough energy from the carbs to perform each set you do and the extra protein will help keep muscle breakdown to a minimum during your workout. It has been shown that the body most effectively uses protein during exertion.  This can also aid in the recovery process post workout.

Eating after a workout is just as important as the pre-workout meal. During exercise energy is depleted from the body in the form of glycogen. The brain and central nervous system rely on glycogen as the main source of fuel.  If we don’t replace it after exercise, our bodies will begin to break down muscle tissue into amino acids, then convert them into usable fuel for the brain and central nervous system. (YOU DO NOT WANT THIS!)

During resistance workouts, muscle tissue is broken down by creating micro tears. This means that right after a workout, muscles go into repair mode. Proteins are the key macro-nutrient for muscle repair!

If you have just finished a resistance session, it is best to consume a combination of carbohydrates and protein. The carbs not only replace the lost muscle glycogen, but also help the protein get into our muscle cells so it can synthesize into structural protein, or muscle itself.

If you have just finished a cardio session, it is best to consume mostly carbohydrates, preferably ones with high fiber. Oatmeal, rice, whole wheat pasta, and most northern fruits are good sources.

Consuming a protein shake with fruit is a good option after a resistance workout. Try to keep the fiber low as high fiber slows down digestion, which means the protein will take longer to reach the muscle cells.

After resistance, it is recommended to wait 30 minutes before eating so as not to take blood away from your muscles too soon. The blood in your muscles helps with the repair process by removing metabolic waste products from them.

Always aim to keep fat intake low immediately before or immediately following a training session.  Remember, the cleaner you eat the easier it is for your body to use the nutrients!  If you need guidance on workouts or your meal plan CLICK HERE!!  We have packages to fit every budget and goal!


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