Have you ever heard someone say “Half your workout is completed in the kitchen”? It’s true, what you eat greatly affects the outcome. You can run, lift, cycle etc. at the gym but if your pre and post training diet is wrong you will ultimately fall short but to help you avoid the agony of poor results I decided to come up with a guide that covers all the info you need for the ideal pre and post workout nutrition.
Your Pre workout Nutrition
Here‘s what you need an hour or two before you head to the gym to fuel up right.
Worried carbs might make you fat? From personal experience I can tell you the right carbs won’t. In fact they are the best fuel source for the body and no I am not suggesting that you gobble down a bowl of mashed potato or have sugary drinks.
A general rule of thumb is to have about 40-50 grams of carb before working out. I workout early so a bowl of cereal is perfect. It’s digested quickly and has all the complex carbs required for optimum sugar and glycogen levels in the body. For people who workout late evening I suggest two complex carb reach meals.
Ever wondered what causes fatigue? Fatigue happens when the body does not get rid of the hydrogen ions quickly enough. They combine with pyruvate and generate lactic acid that is known to cause cramps, pain etc. in turn hindering your performance.
Beta Alanine raises carnosine levels in the muscles i.e. an effective antioxidant that helps overcome this imbalance. 2-4g of this supplement should be taken throughout the day but 700-800mg of it is needed right before your workout.
For an energetic and effective workout my tip would be to have your protein shake prior to your training and preferably whey protein as it contains a higher level of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids).
It lowers energy utilized by the body for every activity by quickly converting amino acid into sugar and also reduces effects of cortisol thus limiting your food intake.
For people on a low carb diet I suggest 15-20 grams of BCAAs instead of protein prior to workout as it has a similar impact. It improves protein synthesis and you will also burn extra fat.
Your Post workout nutrition
Done with your training? Here’s what you need to consume now.
When the body runs out of glycogen and blood sugar to fuel our workouts muscle catabolism takes place i.e. tearing of the muscle tissue. To prevent this you need to consume amino acids and BCAA contains leucine, isoleucine and valine that avoid these muscle tears and also fasten recovery.
With this supplement your chances of going wrong are very little as long as you don’t gulp down the entire drinkat once. I advise 5-10g of BCAA after your workout. Also sipping small amounts of this supplement between my workouts helps me train better and longer.
Be it pre or post my training routine protein remains an essential nutrient and once again preferably whey for similar reasons I mentioned above plus it also aids muscle recovery and repair. During a fierce training session protein is broken down and only the right diet and supplementation canmake up.
I suggest my readers about 15-20g of protein post their workout but that may vary depending on your size and training intensity.
My favorite after workout protein drink is a 50g mixture of both whey and casein protein. Just whey alone is not a long term solution to the body’s protein needs and a combination of the two helps cover up.
Though optional, after an intense training session since our body runs low on blood sugar and glycogen especially when we are on a strict diet for weight loss a quickly digestible carb drink or meal is advised. While we focus on proteins and other nutrients most of us tend to overlook the role played by carbs.
Easy to digest carbs restore the glycogen and sugar levels to normal and improve recovery which should be priority post workout. Again there is no fixed quantity but 50-60g should be enough.