Have you ever wondered what you should eat before and after a workout? We all know how important nutrition is but in my opinion, there is too much information out there on healthy eating. It’s nearly impossible to sort through in order to know how to eat for your results. That’s exactly what my goal is with my Challenge series… SIMPLIFY & SOLVE!
SIMPLIFY: with the Internet’s information overload, I always want to help simplify the copious amount of food advice out there. Below, I’ll cut to to the chase of what I eat pre and post workout as well as why I do so.
SOLVE: when you come to my blog, it’s likely because you have something you’d like solved (ex: what’s a new idea I can find for the gym, is there a full workout I can follow, should I try a new recipe, where can I get meal prep advice) I enjoy following fashion bloggers to solve my problem of what should I wear/buy. It’s not because I cannot put together an outfit, but they solve my problem quicker. That’s what I always hope my posts do the same for you… provide solutions!
PRE WORKOUT MEAL IDEAS
WHAT I LOOK FOR IN A PRE-WORKOUT MEAL
Balanced Meal: the first thing I think of as I put together a meal before my workout is to keep it balanced from a macro nutrient standpoint. Recall the 3 macro nutrients are protein, fat and carbohydrates. Each macro nutrient serves a purpose in a meal. Before I workout, I want the benefits of all three. Protein will be useful for muscle recovery, carbohydrates will give us the energy needed in a workout and fat will slow the overall digestion of the meal so that these benefits will last throughout our workout.
Nourishing not Heavy: prior to a workout, it’s important to eat a meal that is nourishing and will fill you without being heavy. Think of trying to workout after a Christmas dinner feast. I think light and nourishing for a pre-workout meal.
Stay Away from Sugary Foods: this is something I do to keep from feeling those blood sugar spikes. You’re already trying to keep the meal balanced but for the sake of stable energy, this isn’t the time to enjoy some candy or ice cream (save that for post-workout!)
Timing: I like to enjoy my pre-workout meal about 1 hour prior to training. Everyone metabolizes food at different rates so this timing may be something you need to adjust to best fit you. For me, I’ll eat then head to the gym about 20 minutes after that and my gym commute is about an additional 20 minutes, so after parking, walking into the gym and starting, that’s about 1 hour. (although I know I can train straight after a big meal, other people need to digest longer, so don’t worry if this isn’t the way it works out).
PRE-WORKOUT MEAL EXAMPLES
1) Avo Egg Toast: 2 slices Ezekiel/whole wheat bread toast + 1/4 avocado + 2 fried eggs
2) 3 scrambled eggs, feta cheese, 1 slice whole wheat bread.
3) 2 hard boiled eggs, 2 tbsp peanut butter, 1 apple
this is my go-to pre-workout meal
I do realize, these all contain eggs, i’m an egg lover. If you are coming straight from work and don’t have time to stop at home or don’t eat eggs. Here are some more options:
- Hand full of nuts and dried fruit
- Beef jerky/biltong and dried fruit
- Banana and nut butter
- Carrot sticks and Hummus’s
POST-WORKOUT MEAL IDEAS
WHAT I LOOK FOR IN A POST-WORKOUT MEAL
Protein Protein Protein: this is where you want to ensure you’re getting your protein in. There are a lot of different opinions on how quickly you need to consume protein post-workout Some say as quickly as 15-30 minutes; I like to shoot for having sufficient protein within an hour of my workout. Most times, this works out for me so that I can get home and eat a meal. If I have to run errands after my workout, I’ll be sure to bring protein powder and have a protein shake after my workout. Do whatever works best for you! Protein is important for aiding in muscle recovery.
Hey Carbs, Hey: the fun thing after a workout is that our bodies are craving carbs. Think of carbs purely as energy. During a workout, we deplete our glycogen stores (the body’s storage form of carbohydrates) and they need replenishing. If you have a higher carb meal in your day, make it your post workout meal! I like the meal after my workout to have substantial, filling carbs. Carbs not only aid in muscle recovery but also speed up recovery.
Time to Treat: if there is any time of the day I would *suggest* as the best time to enjoy a treat, it would be after your workout. It’s about timing and portions. A post-workout meal is where I would add in a treat on track if I’m going to in a day.
POST-WORKOUT MEAL EXAMPLES
1) protein shake + handful of cashews + granola bar
^this is an example of a post-workout meal I would have if I need to run errands after my workout or can’t get home to make a meal (=easy to eat in a car lol)
2) chicken/bacon salad + bowl of popcorn with salted caramel dark chocolate in it. (MY guilty pleasure)
^this is an example of a post-workout meal I would have when I wanted to include a treat
3) A warm cooked meal, salmon and veggies. My favorite meal ever ever. My recipe link.
^this is an example of a post-workout meal I would enjoy most nights
IT’S ABOUT ALL 24 HOURS
Healthy eating is a marathon not a sprint. I hope this post helps you gain a deeper understanding of how certain macro nutrients can benefit you more based on timing. However, I want to make sure I mention the importance of eating well in all 24 hours of the day. It’s not just about a meal or two that will help us see results, it’s about eating well consistently!
More posts following soon!!