I've received a lot of questions from clients regarding how to eat before and after a workout. Eat too much and you'll be left feeling sluggish and bloated for the workout. Eat too little and your stomach will be screaming at you and you won't have the energy to carry on. So what should you do?
While I'll try not to get too deep into the science of it (macros, nutrient timing, and hormone responses can get a bit confusing), I'll suggest some general guidelines to consider.
Eating Before a Workout
Try to have a small meal or a snack 2-3 hours before your workout. This will help to give you more energy to fuel your workout. You need quality carbs, lean protein, heart-healthy fats, and fluids.
Your muscles rely on carbohydrate foods like breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables for a quick energy supply. You need protein for your muscles and for your blood cells, which bring nutrients and oxygen to your muscles. You also need fluids (water), to stay hydrated, or your body will have a hard time performing at its best.
There's no one meal that you need to eat before working out. Instead, focus on these 5 things:
-Moderate in carbs and protein
-Made up of familiar foods that you tolerate well
Try to stay away from fried and greasy foods, as well as soft drinks.
Ideas of things to eat before working out:
-toast with peanut butter and a banana
- fruits and vegetables
-yogurt and trail mix
-oatmeal with fruit
Eating After a Workout
It is a good idea to consume protein and some carbohydrates after a workout session. Your muscles don’t care if the protein comes from a hard-boiled egg, glass of chocolate milk, or whey protein shake.
Whatever you choose more isn’t better. You only need about 10-20 grams of protein for your muscles. Chocolate milk is often a favorite choice for a drink after a workout; it has a good blend of protein and carbohydrates to help your body recover.
Water acts as your body’s cooling system. You don't want to get dehydrated. The best way to stay hydrated is to drink plenty of fluids with meals, and drink about 2 cups (16 ounces) of water 2 hours before exercise. Water is often enough. But if you're exercising for more than 60 minutes in hot, humid conditions, sports drinks may help. They give you carbs and sodium, as well as fluids. It is also important how you drink the water. I suggest taking small sips throughout an extended duration of time and not chugging down a bottle all at once, as this can leave you bloated and the water can slosh around as you move.
I hope these tips find you well and enable you to be the best you that you can be!