Tips On Pre And Post Workout Nutrition

Knowing what to eat and what to avoid before and after a workout can have a tremendous impact on your performance in the gym. And also on how much muscle you are likely to build afterwards.

Pre workout and post workout meals require adequate thought and preparation, because they are two of the most important meals for someone aspiring to build muscle.

Carbohydrates Before A Workout

Carbohydrates are ideal heading into a workout because of the energy they provide. It is best to go for natural and unprocessed carbs such as fruits and vegetables, brown rice or brown bread. These foods provide long lasting energy to keep you going through a strenuous and extended workout.

Stay away from processed carbs such as pastries, doughnuts and other sweet snacks which will give you a false sense of security by boosting energy levels the first few minutes of your workout, before resulting in a huge crash soon afterwards forcing you to end your workout prematurely due to a lack of energy. This is one of the worst things that can happen at the gym.

Avoid Having Meals Too Close To Workout

Avoid having meals less than three hours before the start of a workout because you don’t want to confuse your body by delving into a workout while your body is digesting a meal. This will make you sick and you won’t be able to perform at your best during the workout.

Your pre workout snack should always be light and can come in the form of a carbohydrate and/or protein drink if you would rather not have something solid. Avoid foods that are very high in fibre as this could cause an upset stomach during your workout. This pretty much wraps up pre workout nutrition.

Phase Following A Workout Is Critical

The phase following a workout is critical because it is at this time that muscle cells are most ready for the uptake of nutrients for the process of repair and regeneration. At this stage protein is important to provide the amino acids your muscles need to rebuild.

Carbohydrates are also needed to restore glycogen levels or else your body will resort to breaking down muscle tissue for energy. For this reason dextrose which is basically sugar and which is found in most sports drinks is excellent to have at this time to restore glycogen levels. The ideal post workout option however would be something consisting of a carbohydrate and protein mixture.

Avoid Fats Immediately Before Or Soon After A Workout

One macro-nutrient to avoid too much of before or after a workout is fats since this will slow down digestion of protein and carbs. Eat the right foods before your workout and you will have the energy to give your best during your workout. Having the right foods after your workout will induce hypertrophy and increase motivation levels heading into the next workout.

Chris is a 25 year old fitness enthusiast who blogs about fitness and health. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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4 Responses to Tips On Pre And Post Workout Nutrition

  1. Byron February 26, 2014 at 12:41 am #

    I agree with your tips to stick with healthy carbs prior to a workout. I also throw in a protein shake before and after my workouts to maximize strength as well as post-workout recovery time.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  2. Daniel July 31, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    I hate eating before going to gym. I simply cannot train when my stomach is full. However, weight gainer or a whey protein shake right after the workout does a great job is refueling my muscle. Anyway, awesome tips!

  3. Cari @ MeetMyHusband January 14, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    These are great tips. As I was reading, I remembered lots of meals that I probably shouldn’t have eaten near my workouts.

  4. fiona maclean January 14, 2013 at 12:13 am #

    Thanks, that’s helpful and clear. For me, I guess it means eating a healthy balanced low fat meal after my workout and nothing before. I don’t eat much before anyway, but I’ve been known to reward myself with pizza after;)

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