It's one of the most common questions we get as personal trainers. What should I eat before and after my workout to optimise my results. Of course, the answer depends on the person and the specific activity, but there are generally rules of thumb to follow, whether your a seasoned gym goer or a total newbie.
1. Don't forget about the carbs
Carbohydrates are fuel for your muscles and the harder your body is working, the more carbs you will need to keep going. So, how soon before a workout should I eat? It all depends on the activity your going to engage in. As a general rule of thumb, it's best not to eat immediately before a workout for obvious reasons. Ideally, you should fuel your body about 1 to 3 hours before your workout. Here are some suggestions for pre-workout energy.
1. A peanut butter sandwich
2. Yogurt with berries
3. Porridge and fruit
4. Apple and peanut or almond butter
You may notice that each of these suggestions include some protein and fats as well as carbohydrates. Carbs are the fuel for the upcoming workout. However, getting protein and carbs into your system is even more vital post workout.
2. Post workout nutrition
Your body uses stored energy (glycogen) in your muscles to power through your workout, but after that workout, you need to replenish your energy stores. The key is to focus on getting carbs and protein into your body. This gives your muscles the ability to replenish the glycogen they just lost and helps your tired muscles rebuild and repair with the available protein and amino acids. Aim to to eat within an hour window of completing an intense workout. Some post workout meal ideas include:
1. Post-workout recovery smoothie or protein shake
2. Chocolate or protein milk
3. Turkey wrap with vegetables
4. Low-fat yogurt with berries and nuts
The above offer mainly carbs, some protein and are very convenient to whip up at short notice. Give them a go the next time you train and see your results and energy improve!
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