Sam Olivier is a personal fitness trainer from the UK, who has recently established her own blog, www.ripped.me, trying to share some of her experiences with the world. She collects running shoes and Agatha Christie novels, and is still on the hunt for the perfect smoothie.
“One cannot stress the importance of pre- and post-workout nutrition enough. Food is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, and a foundation upon which the body is forged and sculpted. It must support fitness goals with a right mix of essential nutrients. A pre-workout meal helps people charge their batteries and achieve maximum performance. On the other hand, food consumed after exercise boost results and aids muscle recovery.
Look before you leap
A pre-workout meal refers to all food consumed a maximum of 3 hours before your training routine.
Apart from its many benefits, it is worth mentioning that one should keep a close eye on calorie intake, especially when engaged in fat-loss programs. Furthermore, meal timing is of the essence. Proteins take 3-4 hours to digest, carbs 2-3 hours and fat 6-8 hours. Your meal does not need to be fully digested before starting a workout.
Generally, a 80kg/180lb man seeking to burn fat should consume 500-600 calories 2 or 3 hours before exercise. An intense athletic activity requires a larger meal, and if more than 3 hours have passed since the meal, a snack might be a good idea. The goal is to fill glycogen stores in the body with energy and ensure that you do not run out of steam. Raising energy levels like this enables you to put in a maximum performance.
A common pre-workout diet may include oatmeal, eggs, low-fat cheese, grilled chicken and plenty of water. A snack is typically composed of fruits like apples and strawberries and some yoghurt. A great idea for a pre-workout snack would be to make yourself a delish dish with avocado and eggs. It is extremely easy to make, and won’t take up more than 15 minutes of your time. Also, if you are tired of eating bland oatmeal every day of your life, why not pair it with a banana or any berry you prefer. (I tend to tuck into raspberries). Also, during intense workouts, our muscle tissue breaks down. A proper meal helps you avoid this scenario and increases muscle gains. Pay attention to the protein value, as this substance induces the release of amino acids into the blood stream.
Looking for more inspiration on pre-workout nutrition? Check out this page with 21 best foods to eat before a work-out. On this website you can find more information on how many calories to consume daily.
After the storm comes a calm
Physical activity puts a serious strain on our body, making it crave nutrients. So, after finishing those sets, it is time for recovery and rejuvenation. Eating fast digesting carbs, for example, prevents protein from turning into fat. Why not make a batch of pancakes? If you substitute flour with protein powder, you will still pack all the flavor, and all the nutritional benefits. Post-workout is also the only time of the day when you can benefit from simple carb. Once your glycogen levels have been depleted during workout, your body will be grateful for the sugary kick you provide. Nutrients also mitigate muscle soreness, allowing you to train harder and more often. As for the time when a post-workout meal is the most appropriate, experts argue that it is right after the exercise.
For those who want to improve muscle gains, the window of opportunity lasts for an hour. Also, see to it that the meal is low in fat, because it can slow down digestion. Eating fruit is always a safe bet, while whey protein is also becoming increasingly popular. Yet, whole food is always superior for getting a healthy, lean body because of its greater satiety and fat burning properties.
Post-workout is, of course, not only limited to what you eat immediately after your workout has run its course. You need to mind what you eat during the entirety of your day, which includes breakfasts and dinners. Whether your meal falls into the salad or meat category, choose ingredients you love. At the end of the day, your most important goal is to provide your body with ready-to use nutrients, which will jump start your next workout.
Finally, do not shy away from getting creative with food, as long as you know how it will affect your performance and recovery. After all, preparing a state-of-the-art meal is self-indulgence at its best. You can also make other people jealous by sharing photos of dishes on websites like Instagram and EyeEm. Of course, capturing your body with a camera is another apposite hobby, but do not let it distract you from the proper execution of an exercise.
A course of nature
Solid nutrition is a driving force behind your attempts to stay on track and achieve prime fitness goals. Food will do miracles for you in terms of tackling tissue breakdown, increasing fat loss, and enhancing the muscle building process. As a result, one can attain better and faster results without risking injury or pain. Results will come as a natural course of events, a self-fulfilling prophecy you have written with your blood, sweat and tears.