*Pops collar of lab coat and stands in front of classroom dry erase board*
You head to the gym six times a week, make sure you do cardio, weight training and drink more water than you thought was possible but still, no results; nothing’s changing. Before you throw in the towel, have you ever thought that your pre- and post-workout meal options might be sabotaging your success?
What you eat before your workout is a crucial part of fueling and maximizing workout performance. What you eat thereafter is crucial for optimizing the recovery process (which basically begins as soon as your workout ends) and ensuring that your body has everything it needs to recover, adapt and improve in the way you want.
Sure; there’s a ton of research that says that JUST getting your pre-workout nutrition is the key, or JUST getting post-workout nutrition right is the only way, but the truth is, you need to be spot-on about BOTH meals to see real results.
Pre-Gaming; Purpose of your Pre-Workout Meal
Pre-workout meals choices are affectionately referred to as “energy phase” and it’s pretty easy to see why; your pre-workout meal single handedly supplies your body with everything it will need to ensure optimal performance during your workout. And, in the cases where a during-workout meal is being used (either in place of the pre-workout meal or in conjunction with it), its purpose is exactly the same. Provided you ate the way you should have for the day, that banana you grabbed on the way to the gym is responsible for enhancing your workout performance and creating readily available blood sugar which increases and sustains your energy.
Incorporating Pre-Workshop Meals; How do I make this work?
To allow for digestion, have your pre-workout meal 1-2 hours before you begin your workout.
* Removes lab coat to reveal apron*
Carbohydrates and fats are important sources of energy during exercise so you want complex carbs and a small portion of good fats to help you fuel smart.
- 1 tablespoon of Peanut butter, banana on a slice of toast
- Trail mix
- Chicken breast with a baked potato
Power Down Properly: Post Workout Meals
Congrats! You just made it through a workout powered by #BODYBYZEUS meal ideas. You’re tired aren’t you? You would try to fight me but you see, the way your legs are set up after that routine… the best you can do is cast me menacing glances. I know, friends, I know. Drag yourself to the fridge and let’s talk post-workout fueling.
Here’s the thing; you don’t change your body at the gym. What you do at the gym is the catalyst that forces your body to change, over time when you’re NOT working out. In many ways, your recovery defines your success just as much as your reps do. So your post-workout meal also plays a huge role. That meal supplies your body with everything it will need to repair, replenish, recover and adapt to the training stimulus that you just provided during your workout.
A good recovery meal supports muscle recovery and growth, refuels (now depleted) energy stores, recreates blood level stasis and helps to promote weight loss (or gain—depending on what you eat and your goal).
Your post-workout meal should consist of protein, to rebuild and repair, and carbohydrates to replace energy stores. Fellas should set a goal of consuming 30-45 grams for the ladies, 20-25 grams is ideal. Make sure to have both simple and complex carbohydrates to minimize protein breakdown and re-fill carbohydrates stored in muscle.
Fine Young Cannibals
Quiet as it’s kept—your body is a stubborn, one-track minded miracle. It is singularly focused on finding and consuming what it needs to survive at optimal levels. So, don’t worry; it WILL have a post-workshop meal, whether you offer it one or not. You can offer it something like what I suggested above, or you can let it eat, well…you. In its attempt to survive, hungry, depleted bodies cannibalize themselves by eat away at existing muscle mass which, if you are hoping to see physical change of any sort, is exactly the opposite of what you want.
Here are some awesome post-workout treats to try:
*Do I have to put this apron back on? Ugh. Fine*
- Vegan protein shake (oh hey, Naturade, hey )
- Chocolate milk
- Tuna fish with slice of bread
- Fruits; blueberries, strawberries, or even a banana ( I suggest having this with a shake along side of it)
Now, as your results start to come in, leave comments and share your progress! And, if they ask how you got so fly, Tell em’ Zeus taught you.