Pre and post workout nutrition (your workout fuel) are very vital to obtaining amazing results from your training. I get sick when I ask folks what they had before their workout and the answer is “Nothing” or “I grabbed some fast food.”
Fueling your body with nothing or bad fuel will lead to a lame performance.
I will guarantee you that no matter what goal you have whether you want to lose fat, build bigger arms, or develop an incredible overall physique, it will never be attained without the proper nutrition.
I used to be the guy who would have a hot dog and a high sugar energy drink pre-workout followed by the fast food drive-thru post-workout. This led to lackluster results and stagnant performances. I was going nowhere fast like someone on a treadmill.
What you consume before you train is the fuel for your training session.
When you train you break down muscle. The muscle building process takes place in the days after you train a muscle.
The best way to protect yourself from using muscle as fuel is to have the proper nutrition before your workout begins and to have the proper nutrition after you complete your session.
Strength training, sprinting, or any other high-intensity activity uses glycogen as fuel. Glycogen is stored in your body when you eat carbohydrates.
When you do not properly fuel up before you train your performance in the gym will suffer and it will become very hard to make solid progress.
Timing is big when in comes to food consumption especially with carbohydrates. Carbs either will store as fat or be used for energy or recovery. By timing them you ensure that they are being used for the right reason.
Before you train you will want to consume longer lasting energy. Complex carbs along with a source of protein are ideal pre-workout.
The amount of food will vary based on your goals. Brown rice and lean ground turkey, oats and eggs, or chicken breast and sweet potatoes are some common options that I use pre-workout.
Based on how fast your food digests this meal could be consumed between 1-3 hours before you train based on the size of the meal.
After training your body needs to recover and rebuild the broken down muscle tissue. This is done through consuming nutrients that are primarily simple carbohydrates and protein.
The fastest way to do this would be to have a protein shake and adding a carbohydrate powder to the shake. The protein and the carbs in this shake help you recover from the training session that just occurred.
You could also consume faster-digesting carbohydrates such as jasmine rice, pasta, or a regular potato.
Yes, you have heard all the bad things about simple carbs in the media but the fact of the matter is that post-workout they are very helpful for recovery for the hard training trainee. The goal here is to deliver glycogen to your muscles as fast as possible.
Simple carbohydrates will accomplish this goal. The amount that you have will be goal dependent.
If you are someone who is trying to lose a lot of body fat and your metabolism is slow, you will have a lower amount of carbs or even bypass the carbs post-workout. I’m not a proponent huge low carb dieting but I do understand that in short controlled bouts it can be very, very effective for losing body fat.
The leaner you get the more carbs you can consume without gaining body fat. That line made you smile!
The bottom line is that a good portion of your day’s food should be centered around your workout so that you know the food is being put to use. By getting your pre and post-workout nutrition down you can truly build the body that you want to have.
Training is important, but it will be not be anywhere near optimal without sound nutrition.
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