How do we choose a good Pre-Workout and Post-Workout Meal?

Alexandra Grapa
January 16, 2019 3 min read

Protein Smoothie with Oats and bananas

We`ve established that food plays a key role in the effectiveness of your training sessions and reaching your goals. They help you perform your best and shape your results. If you`re going to put the machine that is your body thru work, you want to fuel it with proper nutrition, and it goes the same after the work is done, re-fueling giving your body what it needs to recover and build bigger stronger muscles.

Pre-Workout Meals

The purpose of a pre- workout meal is simple: to fuel your activity and give your body what it needs to perform!

Your body needs two things:

1. Carbs, for energy.
2. Protein, to supply you muscles with amino acids.

A PRE-WORKOUT meal should be made out of:
Carbs = 0.25g/ pound of your target body weight
Protein = 0.25g/pound of your target body weight

Do not eat too close to your workout ! It can cause some digestive discomfort, and the body will have to work a lot to digest the food and push itself to perform. It would be better to eat 1- 3 hours before your workout, if you`re eating a more solid meal . The liquid meals can be consumed closer to the workout time.

Here is a list with examples of pre-workout meals you can try:

  • oatmeal with milk/ yogurt and fruit
  • apple and nut bitter ( peanut , almond etc)
  • Greek yogurt and fruit
  • peanut butter sandwich with jelly or fruits
  • smoothie with protein powder and fruit
  • rice cakes with hardboiled egg
  • granola bars
  • toast and turkey breast
  • nuts and raisins

Post- Workout Meals

The purpose of post - workout meals is to:

- supply the body with all it needs to recover
- replenish the glycogen that`s been depleted during exercise
- minimize muscle damage/ muscle protein breakdown
- reduce cortisol levels
- reduce muscle soreness
- replace the electrolytes (minerals that your neurons need) which you lose while you sweat

Refuel your body with protein and carbs! Choose lean protein, and complex carbohydrates.

Complex carbs can include : quinoa, brown rice, nuts, whole wheat bread , yams, sweet potatoes, white potatoes with skin.

Protein can include: tofu, beans, fish, chicken/turkey breast , leaf beef etc.

Post workout meal - Salmon and poached eggs

Post- workout meal examples:

  • recovery smoothie ( low fat milk and fruit)
  • low fat chocolate milk
  • grilled chicken and veggies
  • salmon and sweet potato
  • tuna and crackers
  • tuna salad sandwich with whole grain bread
  • cottage cheese and fruit
  • pita and hummus
  • egg omelet with avocado spread on toast
  • protein shake and banana
  • turkey on a whole grain wrap with veggies
  • yogurt and berries

You should eat the post-workout meal as soon as possible- maybe in the within 60 min after your workout or even better, the first 30.

Why is timing important? Since your body has depleted all reserves during the training, it will resort to breaking down muscle in order to fuel itself. This is more common for people who wants to build muscle . If your goal is to lose weight, then you can snack on a banana, yogurt or shake after your workout.

It`s also important for you to remember that any pre-workout or post - workout meals and snacks should be included as part of your recommended daily caloric intake. Don`t add more calories since they`ve been burned off in the workout because it will leave you neutral. A caloric deficit will be a must if you want to lose weight.

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