Eating quality foods and drinking lots of water are a very important part of fitness.The meals you eat affect how you feel throughout the day and play a big role in the recovery process. Each meal is important!
Generally, you want a meal that is high in complex carbohydrates, protein, and unsaturated fats and low in simple carbohydrates (sugar) and saturated fat. Couple that with some fruits, vegetables, and water to get yourself a solid, healthy meal.
But what should you eat pre and post-workout? Is it any different? Not really, let me offer a few suggestions.
Pre-Workout foods if you are in a rush-
The pre-workout meal should be centered around carbohydrates since they will provide you with energy for the workout.
>>You can never go wrong with fruit if you are in a rush and need to get a quick bite to eat. Fruit contains carbohydrates. A banana is a great option because it contains potassium which will help prevent muscle cramping. You could also eat some oatmeal, a bagel, or a granola bar, which are also high in carbohydrates.
>>Couple that with some mixed nuts and/or greek yogurt and you got yourself a pretty nutrient dense snack. Mixed nuts are also a healthy choice for you to munch on before working out since they contain healthy fats and protein. Greek yogurt is easy on the stomach and high in protein.
If you have extra time, go ahead and eat a small, well-balanced meal-
>>The most important thing to include in this meal is complex carbs since they provide you energy. Brown rice, sweet potatoes, and beans (which also contain protein) are all good choices. Couple that with a piece of fruit and you’ll have a good amount of carbs in your meal.
>>For protein, you can have some egg whites or a type of lean meat (such as chicken breast or fish). This protein will help you repair muscles from working out the day prior and it plays a role in repairing your muscles after you workout today.
>>And go ahead and have a small serving of veggies. A little more won’t hurt!
Fun fact- The pre-workout meal is what helps facilitate the recovery process. The glucose and protein in the pre-workout meal allows the rebuilding process (anabolism) to occur sooner.
This leads us into post-workout nutrition.
You can pretty much eat the same meal as the one listed above. Except this time, the center of focus should be protein! And don’t worry about eating the meal within a certain period of time. The “30-60 min post workout window” is a myth. As long as you eat quality foods, you should be able to recover properly.
Post -Workout Foods-
>>Protein (eggs, chicken breast, fish, beans, mixed nuts, protein shake) -This meal should consist mainly of protein. It helps repair/build muscle tissue. You can couple this with a protein shake to get in some extra protein.
>>A small amount of Carbs (fruit, beans, oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat pasta)- Carbs help in the recovery process also.
>>Vegetables- Extra nutrients
>>Water- You just lost a bunch of fluids from working out, so it is important to rehydrate.