Maximizing Your Pre- and Post- Workout Nutrition
Have you been working hard lately in the gym or training consistently leading you to feeling frustrated by seeing little results or hitting a complete plateau. Maybe the missing piece of your puzzles the food your consuming before and after your workouts. How do we maximize our nutrition for the most optimal results in our fitness routine? We make intentional choices based off nutrition principles for building muscle, maintaining stamina and feeling satiated for longer. I’m not talking about pre-workout supplements, which can very well help, but the real, delicious, and healthy foods your likely incorporating anyways. Wouldn’t you feel a little better knowing your food choices are helping you strive forward even a step further than before? We think so.
To understand the science of the macronutrients that best serve us let’s break down the basics. Carbohydrates are the fuel to the engine of your high speed machine here. Carbs= energy. Protein is great for building and maintaining muscle, keeping you full longer. If you are doing any type of weight training it is especially important to repair the tears you’re creating in muscle tissue with protein. Finally, the last micronutrient fat. As a society we’ve gone from fat phobic to fat loving, and for good reason! Fat slows down digestion, making sure our blood sugar isn’t all over the place as well as helping us absorb fat soluble vitamins from our food such as A,E, D and K. They help us with joint fluidity and cell membrane structure. Generally the least talked about macro for athletic nutrition but an important one none the less!
WHAT TO EAT BEFORE A WORKOUT:
Focusing on complex carbs such as:
whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, steel cut oats) etc.
will be the key to slowing down the digestion and maintaining steady blood sugar. Carbohydrates are the best consumed pre-workout as we need the energy to keep a steady stamina and intensity to our workout without becoming easily fatigued. Typically we want to pair our carbohydrates with some fat and protein for increased satiety and slower digestion.
We recommend consuming your pre-workout snack 30 minutes up to 3 hours before heading to the gym to reduce indigestion and discomfort mid-workout, no one wants that! If you find it difficult to eat anything before working out, fasting is OK as well, though not recommended for those who already suffer with blood sugar issues. I’m talking to YOU “hangry” people. If your getting lethargic, lightheaded or nauseas during your workouts this is sure sign that you are not eating enough for the type of exercise you are doing, try these ideas next time instead!
Some Ideas to Pre-workout Snacks:
Banana & Almond butter on Brown Rice Cakes
2 Organic Brown Rice cakes
1 tbsp of Raw Almond Butter
Slice banana into thin rounds
Spread almond butter on rice cakes evenly
Top with banana slices! Enjoy
2. Sweet Potato Toasties
1/2 Medium Sweet Potato
3 Tbsp of Greek Yogurt
1/2 scoop of Vanilla Protein powder
Slice sweet potato into 1/4 inch slices, thin enough to be toasted
Toast in your toasted for about 2-3 minutes until soft
Whisk Vanilla Protein into Greek yogurt
Top sweet potato slices with Greek yogurt
Feel free to add blueberries, coconut flakes or pumpkin seeds (optional)
If all else fails try incorporating a protein shake or protein bar before your meals. Some suggestions are Simply Protein, Good Fats bars, Genuine Health and RX bars. These are whole food based and nutritionist approved!
WHAT TO EAT AFTER A WORKOUT
First and foremost we want to focus on hydrating. Drink that water! Focusing on lean protein sources combined with some carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores is key.
Sources such as:
Do not skip your post-workout meals. You need those macronutrients to rebuild muscle, and speed up your body’s recovery process.
How to Determine Your Protein Needs:
1. Divide your weight by 2.2 to get kilograms
2. Multiply that number by 0.4 and 0.5. to get a range of recommended protein amounts
This isn’t extremely difficult to achieve as even 4oz of chicken has about 30g of protein! If you are plant-based consider protein combining (which we will discuss another day) to get the full spectrum of amino acids within one day. If you are a high intensity athlete your needs will be greater, this is something you can work more personally with a nutritionist and trainer to determine!
Some Post-Workout Snack Ideas:
Mean Green Smoothie:
1 cup of greens (spinach, kale or arugula)
1/4 cup of berries (any)
1 scoop of vanilla protein
1 tsp of Ashwaganda powder (optional)
1 tsp of flax seed
1 tsp of MCT oil
1 cup of Nut milk (almond, cashew etc.)
1/4 cup of Oats
Throw everything into a blender! Add water as needed to desired thickness
2. Very Berry Greek Yogurt Parfait
1/2 cup of Full- Fat Unsweetened Greek yogurt
1 tsp of honey or maple syrup
1/3 cup of Granola of your choice (No sugar added preferred)
1/4 cup of Mixed Berries (Frozen or Fresh)
1 tbsp of Almond Butter
Mix honey into Greek yogurt
Start to layer a glass with yogurt on the bottom, next add in the granola and top with berries
Drizzle almond butter over top
REMINDER: These suggestions are only a guideline to follow
The most important thing is to listen to your own body. We have recommendations that from a research perspective work best but you are your best nutritionist! If you are struggling to find a meal plan that works best for you, feeling unprepared for the week and resorting to eating out or simply are not feeling your best, feel free to book a consultation with one of our nutritionists! Stay in touch via email, facebook or Instagram!