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It seems there are a lot of ideas out there on this one. Over the years, I have heard my fair share of ideas; from not eating pre-workout to the mysterious protein consumption hour after working out, let's clarify. What do you really need before and after you hit the gym?
Preworkout, or what you consume prior to hitting the gym, is important. Not only is it fueling your workout, it can greatly affect your performance. If I had a nickel for the number of times, I have asked about Preworkout nutrition, I would've amassed a small fortune. Lacking energy, poor performance, feeling weak, all could be potential indicators that your pre-workout fuel isn't ideal. The purposes of a pre-workout meal are: 1- maintain muscle glycogen (energy) stores 2- prevent muscle protein catabolism (breakdown) 3- reduce cortisol hormone post-workout. So how do we achieve a solid pre-workout meal...By consuming protein and carbs. In general 60-90 minutes before you hit the gym, you should be eating. Aim for equal amounts of protein and carbs, .25g/lb of bodyweight of each.
Post workout, what you eat after you are done is just as important. Post workout nutrition aides in recovery, and can have a massive effect on how you feel the next day. What does the body need post workout? "PROTEIN", I always hear this in a resounding boom, and while correct not the only need post workout. Once again there is a need and demand for carbohydrates. The purposes of your post workout meal are: 1- refuel the muscles with glycogen (energy stores) 2-prevent muscle catabolism (breakdown) 3-stimulate protein synthesis (build muscle) 4-reduce cortisol hormone 5-improve overall recover/reduce soreness. So what's a fit-seeking person to do.... Eat protein and carbs, as soon after your workout as possible. Again, aiming for equal amounts of protein and carbs, .25g/lb of bodyweight of each. Why soon? Once you have worked out your energy stores are low, your muscles are ready to use protein and carbs to begin recovery. Post workout meal is best consumed within an hour of completing your sweat session.
Food Suggestions for pre/post workout: