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What Is The Best Pre and Post-Workout Nourishment?
For a productive workout that aids in building muscle, provides adequate energy, and ensures sufficient hydration, you need to consider the types of food you eat before and after you exercise. Ideally, your pre-workout meal should have time to digest before a workout, and this will be dependent upon what you choose to eat which is, in turn, dependent upon the level of exertion and type of exercise you engage in.
Your post-workout meal should be consumed within an hour or two after completing your workout. For effective muscle breakdown and rebuilding, effective fat-burning and sufficient energy, we strongly suggest that you take your pre and post-workout nourishment seriously.
Your pre-workout meal should be high in complex carbohydrates, and if you engage in exercise that requires time or distance endurance, should also include low-fat sources of protein and some healthy fats. Both protein and fat provide a steady source of energy as these foods are metabolized more slowly by the body.
Lean protein and healthy fat, such as lean chicken, salmon, tuna, yogurt, almonds, walnuts, and peanut butter should be consumed a minimum of 3 hours before your workout, and this type of meal is beneficial for endurance exercise such as long distance running and cycling, or very strenuous muscle building.
If your routine does not require a high level of endurance, then a meal rich in complex carbohydrates should suffice. Fresh fruits, whole-grain breads, bagels, and pasta, brown rice, and vegetables should be eaten at least 2 hours before a workout. Avoid foods that tend to cause gas such as beans and certain vegetable like cabbage or broccoli.
An hour or less before your workout, or if you exercise first thing in the morning and don’t have time to eat two hours before your workout, If this is the case, at least wake up early enough to allow about an hour for digestion, and limit the food to simple carbs that will break-down quickly like a small piece of fruit or some fruit juice.
Your body uses energy to digest food, so if you don’t allow adequate time for proper digestion before exercise, you will be making your body divide its energy output into supporting both digestion and your workout. This can reduce the effectiveness of your workout, lead to cramps and nausea, and drain your energy supply.
During a strenuous workout session, a catabolic process occurs, where the body makes glucose, amino acids and fatty acids. Post workout, your muscles rebuild themselves through an anabolic process, characterized by protein synthesis and the formation of glycogen. The right nutrient consumption post-workout, can aid the body in this process and prepare it more effectively for your next workout.
Unless you engage in some serious weight training, a meal or snack primarily high in complex carbohydrates with some lean protein will be more than adequate post-workout.
A fruit smoothie made of fruit and low-fat yogurt, a sandwich of whole-grain bread and lean turkey or peanut butter, a whole-grain bagel with tuna or a sliced egg will all provide the necessary post-workout nourishment you require. If it’s mealtime, have a light meal consisting of a lean piece of meat with whole-grain pasta or brown rice, and some steamed vegetables.
In addition to food, it is also important that you are adequately hydrated before, during, and after exercise. If possible, try to drink at least 16 – 24 oz of water staring a couple hours before your workout. During a strenuous workout, you should try to drink at least 4oz of water every 15-20 minutes. If your exercise is taking place in an excessively hot or humid location, you will want to take that into account and increase your water intake even more, and if you are working out for more than an hour, you should consider sports drinks instead of plain water to keep your electrolyte balance in check. Refer to The Healthy Way Diet Manual for additional information on the various aspects of weight loss.