Timing your before & after workout nutrition is very important!  You want to have enough fuel in your system to get a good workout in, but if you exercise immediately after eating, your body will be focused on digestion and you’ll feel drained.  Same with after your workout, should you eat right away after or wait?  If you don’t have a good nutrition plan for your fitness routine, you’re doing yourself a pretty big disservice when it comes to getting the results that you desire. 🙁
If you workout while you’re starving, you won’t have the energy for your body to get max fitness. If you exercise for a long time without eating, your limiting your bodies ability to burn calories and maintain intensity.  If you don’t feed your muscles and replenish your energy stores after exercise, you won’t have the necessary building blocks for recovery.

PRE-WORKOUT:  Don’t eat a bunch of proteins and fats, even if they’re healthy proteins and fats. These types of foods take a long time to digest and draw oxygen and energy-delivering blood into your stomach and away from your exercising muscles. There is also a bigger risk of you getting a tummy ache during your workout.  If you don’t eat at all, your muscles could be breaking down & cause a  lot of stress to your body during your workout.
The perfect pre-workout meal is eaten about two hours before you exercise, it should contain about 300-500 calories, and consist of mostly  healthy carbs. If you don’t have time to eat two hours before, a quick 50-100 calorie snack 5 to 10 minutes before you exercise will do.  Try eating oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, whole-wheat toast, or even a sweet potato a couple hours before you exercise, but when your in a time crunch try an apple, banana, nuts, or even a spoonful of natural peanut butter 5 to 10 minutes before.

DURING A WORKOUT:  I have never had anything to eat during a workout, but research has shown that if you exercise for longer than 60 minutes without supplying your body with any nutrients, you actually burn fewer calories and less fat than if you had eaten, and the amount of calories you burn after your workout is actually lower too…who knew?
If your workout is less than an hour, don’t worry about it.  Just make sure to stay hydrated with small, sips of water.  If you’re doing something over an hour like a long run or a couple of back-to-back  classes at the gym, try to eat 50-100 calories every half hour.  Try to pick a quick carb source that is easy to carry with you, like a bag of raisins, an energy bar, or energy gels. DO NOT try to replace all the calories your burning,  you just need enough fuel to maintain a high burning metabolism.

AFTER WORKOUT:  There really is a magic number when it comes to eating after you work out & that number is 20-60 minutes right after your workout is done..  During this time your muscles will store the carbs & protein that you eat as energy & building blocks for recovery. Don’t wait to long after exercising to eat because your body becomes less likely to use what you eat as fuel and recovery.
A  good meal choice is a mix of carbs and protein.  It gets a bit technical here & there are all sorts of ratios as to how much of each you should eat for what ever your exercise routine is (google it if you really want to know more), but basically just eat a little more carbs than protein.  Take your target goal weight…lets say that is 150 pounds, then you would eat about 300 calories of carbs and about 150 calories of protein.  Some examples are a chicken breast with brown rice, yogurt with almonds, or my go to after workout meal…Shakeology made with a banana.

Remember weight loss is 70% nutrition & 30% exercise!  Make sure you plan ahead & set yourself up for SUCCESS!

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Patty Kinsella Fitness