Pre & Post Workout Meals

strawberry on table top near white ceramic bowl

Your pre- and post-workout meals are considered your two most important meals of the day. If all else fails, at least ensure that you get these two meals spot on.

Your PRE workout meal is the last meal you eat before your workout, ideally 1 hour before. What you eat before your workout is crucial for fueling the workout itself and maximizing your performance throughout.

The primary goal of the PRE workout meal is to accomplish the following:

·  Reduce muscle glycogen depletion.

·  Reduce muscle protein breakdown.

·  Reduce post workout cortisol levels.

Your POST workout meal is the meal you eat immediately after or within 30 minutes after your workout.

What you eat after your workout is crucial for optimizing the recovery process (which basically begins as soon as your workout ends) and ensuring that your body has all of the supplies it needs in order to recover, adapt and improve the way you want it to.

The goal of the POST workout meal is to accomplish the following:

·  Replenish muscle glycogen that was depleted during your workout.

·  Reduce muscle protein breakdown caused by exercise.

·  Increase muscle protein synthesis.

·  Reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.

·  Greatly enhance overall recovery.

·  Reduce cortisol levels.

To make all of the above happen successfully, your body needs 2 things:

·  Carbs

·  Protein

What this means is, your biggest goal with your PRE and POST workout meals is to consume a significant amount of both carbs and protein shortly before and after your workout.

Something to consider when choosing your pre- and post-workout meals is the duration of your workout and how long your meals take to digest and start supplying your body with fuel, as well as the duration of energy supply your meals will deliver. A solid meal for instance takes at least 1 hour to start releasing fuel and will sustain your workout for up to 3 hours after consumption, whereas a liquid meal takes only 30 minutes to supply fuel but will only sustain your workout for up to 90 minutes from time of consumption. What’s important is to ensure that your body has fuel readily available throughout your workout and for an additional 3 hours post workout. I personally prefer to use a combination of both.

So how much protein and carbs do you need to consume pre- and post workout?

You need an equal amount of 0.25g of both pure protein and carbs per pound goal weight for both pre- and post-workout.

Let’s do the math with the following example:

Goal weight:  60kg

Convert weight into pounds: 60 x 2.2 = 132

132 x 0.25 = 33g

This means you will need to consume 33g of pure protein and carbs pre and post workout.

Pre-workout meal recommendation:

In order to power through your gut-wrenching, muscle-fiber-tearing workout, you need a premium source of fuel that will provide a gradual release of energy while you exercise. This is why it’s fundamentally important that you consume a moderate digesting source of carbohydrate one hour before.

In addition to your carbohydrate, a sufficient amount of protein is equally important. As the building block of new muscle growth, protein (composed of essential and non-essential amino acids) is needed for maintaining a positive nitrogen balance necessary to stimulate maximum protein synthesis. Obtaining the correct ratio of amino acids is vital to achieving an anabolic state and the best way of achieving this is by consuming complete protein sources such as egg whites, chicken or white fish.

Not only will they provide a source of energy, thereby preventing your body from tapping into muscle for energy, but will sustain you throughout your entire workout.  Portion control and timing is very important when it comes to your pre-workout meal. If you consume an overabundance of protein and carbs or consume them too close to your workout, your body has insufficient time to metabolize the food. This results in blood being redirected to your working muscles rather than being reflowed to your stomach to aid in digestion, causing stomach cramps.

So, now that you have a slower digesting carb source (as outlined above), it is also beneficial to have a small but sufficient source of fast-digesting carb to kick-start your workout.  Fruits, such as berries, oranges, apples or bananas make an excellent addition to your pre-workout meal. As for protein, splitting your pre workout protein between solid food and a protein shake has it benefits as you avoid having a large and heavy meal.

Post-workout meal recommendation:

Choosing easily digested foods will promote faster nutrient absorption. Protein powder with Dextrin pure carb makes an ideal post workout meal when taken immediately after your workout.

For a prolonged supply of fuel for recovery after your workout, consume a medium to high GI carbohydrate such as fruit and an easily digested solid protein like egg whites with your protein shake.

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