Good Nutrition; before focusing on pre and post workout meals it is important to assure that you are having well balanced meals and offering to your body the fuel it needs.
Your pre-workout meal can be done in a window of 3 hours to 30 minutes before exercising and it is important to take in consideration not only the duration and type of exercise but also performance and individual goals.
To maximise your workout and provide shorter bursts of energy, you need to eat a carbohydrate based snack about 30-60 minutes before you train. Fruits provide quick and easily digestible carbohydrates.
For endurance training e.g long distance running (longer than 60-90 minutes) your pre-workout meal should contain foods which will provide slower long-lasting energy distribution. Such as starches carbohydrates; sweet potato, brown rice, wholemeal pasta and a little source of protein/fat to slow down a little bit more the energy distribution
I always get asked about what to eat after training. A good combination of protein and carbohydrates together will boost muscle growth and repair whilst replenishing energy stores, stimulate insulin and other anabolic hormone levels.
Carbohydrates – I know we always hear about the negative impact an insulin spike has to our health, however after a workout by consuming carbohydrates you are creating a positive insulin spike, in other words, it is beneficial in developing and repairing muscle. Insulin has an important role in transporting nutrients into cells. When combined with essential amino acids it stimulates protein synthesis.
In order to minimise inflammation and control oxidative stress, it is also important to emphasis the consumption of anti-inflammatory, antioxidants and nitric oxide.
The main purposes of post workout nutrition are to: Replenish energy stores/glycogen; decrease protein breakdown and increase muscle quality; repair any damage caused during the workout, prevent cramping & dehydration etc.
Your should aim to have your post workout meal within 20 minutes to 1 hour after finishing your session. Basing on a ratio of 4:1 – Carbohydrates : Protein (Of course this will vary depending on specific goals, body type and type of exercise) to distribute your meal. Unless you are aiming to put on weight, I would suggest making one of your main meals as your post workout.
Carbohydrates – Fruit, oats, sweet potato, grains, wholegrain crackers/toast
Amino Acids/Protein – legumes, green leaves, seeds, yoghurt, eggs, plant based or full cream milk, fish, chicken, meat, whey protein or plant based protein powder, nut butter, avocado, spirulina
Post-Workout Smoothie Recipe
1 cup spinach
½ cup berries
1 banana frozen
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
½ tbsp almond or peanut butter
1 cup almond milk
Method: Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth
The Outcome and Benefits of a Good Post-Workout Meal
Better and quicker recovery, including less muscle soreness and enabling our body to remain injury-free; improved performance; improved muscle and bone mass; improved ability to burn body fat.
Always Stay Hydrated
Make sure to keep your hydration levels on point, prior; during and post workout. Water is critical for recovery and super important to prevent cramping, dehydration and fatigue. Drink at least 500ml of water after exercising.
Tip to Keep in Mind
Don’t forget that is not only what we eat before and after exercising that will have an impact on results. What you eat along your day, and how well balanced in general your diet is, is what will guarantee your achievements
Health Coach, Nutritional Therapist & Runner
Luana Marchi is a Health Coach who loves to inspire others to improve their health and wellbeing