Die-hard fitness enthusiasts, beginners, or just works in progress, a proper nutrition plan benefits all. Providing fuel to the body, both before and after workout sessions, goes a long way to achieving your fitness goals and achieving optimal performance and muscle recovery.
Workout nutrition is just as important as the workout itself. Its often said that the workout itself is only half the effort; your body majorly needs proper nutrition to maximize its growth and recovery.
People are often at war with themselves regarding the diet, especially when it comes to the timing, purpose, and make-up of pre and post workout.
Snacking immediately before a workout is a strict no-no. Ideally, fuelling the body about 1 to 3 hours before working out with a small meal is a healthy option.
Carbohydrates are the main fuel for muscles, as they are the first nutrients that the body burns during workout. In addition, the pre-workout meal should also include some protein as it is responsible for rebuilding and repairing muscles.
Here are some good options for pre-workout nutrition:
1. Banana and peanut butter
2. Plain Greek yogurt with berries
3. Oatmeal with low-fat milk and some blueberries
4. Apple and almond butter
Post workout nutrition encompasses the meal taken after workout, and is in no way any compensation or reward to the calories you burnt working out. This meal should be an ideal mixture of protein and carbohydrates, and should be taken within 30-45 minutes of finishing your workout. This is extremely important to help the body repair and recover.
Taking a post-workout meal helps the body in a number of ways, such as:
1. Reducing muscle fatigue and soreness.
2. Replenishing muscle glycogen and increasing muscle protein synthesis.
Pre and post workout meals can be in both solid and liquid form. However, you must be vigilant about two basic rules:
Rule #1: Don’t over-think about the meals –
Many people often overdo their pre- and post-workout meals. In fact, the extra thought can be put to the overall diet for the day. If you take proper pre and post workout meals, and then incessantly eat the rest of the day, it really doesn’t matter how optimized your pre- and post-workout meals are —in the end you won’t see the desired results.
Rule #2: Do trial runs –
(A) We all have different types of body, each responding differently to diverse diets and strength training regimens. Therefore, to find the ideal meals or combinations of meals for yourself, trial runs of all.
(B) To actually achieve some output in the trial runs, it is important to record your findings. Don’t just track what you eat, but also pay attention to how the meals contributed to your workout. Modify things, record, and modify again, until you find which pre- and post-workout meal plan suits you best.
In addition to optimum exercise, correct eating will help turn your body into the well-oiled machine that you deserve. It is essential to track what your body is taking in and burning through every day.
So next time you think about running around the block, hitting the gym, or attending a group fitness class, consider your meals before and after it.
Peter Barron, a personal fitness trainer in Dubai helps people to lead a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and good nutrition. He has been working with clients and helping them to change their lifestyles and achieve their goals for the past 10 years.