To optimize the gains from any workout, what you eat before and after and when you eat it, is just as important as the workout itself. Eating to optimize a workout is all about timing and the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Pre-workout the focus is fuel to get you through a tough training session. Post-workout, the goal is recovery and replenishment.
Exactly what you eat before and after a workout will depend on the type of workout, the length, and your training goals. You don’t need to eat much to fuel a sweat session less than 60 minutes.
What to Eat Before and After a Workout
The world of nutrition has a lot to say about what to eat before and after a workout. The hard part is sifting through all the data to figure out what works best for you. When it comes to workout nutrition, it is all about the type of workout, the duration, and timing proper pre and post workout meals.
Typically, pre-workout fuel should be consumed 45 minutes – 2 hours before the start of your workout. The window to fuel before a workout will depend on the type of workout and the duration. The ideal pre-workout meal for strength training consists of 75% carbohydrates and 25% protein. For a cardio session, a pre-workout snack should be 75% – 100% low glycemic index carbohydrates. A banana with almond butter, plain yogurt with fruit and nuts, an apple with peanut butter and raisins are all excellent pre-workout snacks.
For a high intensity or cardio based workout, it is important to replenish glycogen stores within 30 to 60 minutes of completing your workout. For strength based workouts, the window to refuel is up to 2 hours. If your workout is strength based, the foods you eat post-workout should support muscle recovery and repair. A good post-workout snack should contain a 2:1 carbs to protein ratio. A post-workout meal for a cardio workout should contain a 3:1 carbs to protein ratio. If you workout consists of a mix of strength training and cardio, your post-workout meal should look similar to your pre-workout snack with 75% carbs and 25% protein. Chocolate milk is one of the best post-workout recovery options, with the perfect ratio of carbs, protein, and fat.
What are some of your favorite pre and post-workout snacks?