One of the most frequently asked questions I get is whether you should eat before or after your workout.

The answer to this is not whether to eat before or after, but rather, what to eat before and after. Eating at both points will be critical to your success.

It’s not a black and white picture either. What’s best for you to eat before and after each workout will heavily depend upon the workouts that you’re doing, as well as the goals you have in place.

Taking all of this into account allows you to get the complete picture on the best pre and post workout foods and supplements.

Pre-Workout Meal

The main thing to consider when eating pre-workout is what type of workout you are doing, as well as what your consumption has been like up to this point.

If you’ve been eating regular meals, spacing them out every 3-4 hours and making sure to get a balanced mix of proteins, carbs, and fats in each meal, you’ll already be well fueled going into your workout. Therefore, the need for a pre-workout meal or supplement isn’t nearly as critical

On the other hand, if you haven’t been eating regularly, you’re likely going to need some high-energy fuel to get through your session.

Likewise, the type of workout matters as well. If you’re doing an intense workout session where it’s nonstop at maximal limits, you’ll need much different fueling than if you were doing a 30-minute steady state cycling session.

With an intense type of exercise such as this, you’ll need a good amount of both carbs and protein, and likely some pre-workout supplements. I would recommend getting on a quality BCAA to help supplement and fuel your body intra-workout.

With an easier workout, your last meal will easily provide sufficient fueling.

A good sign that you aren’t currently eating enough to fuel your workout is if you aren’t able to get through the full workout performing optimally. If you tank partway through, your pre-workout fueling is likely to blame.

You might also wonder if you’re able to exercise in a fasted state. The answer is yes as long as you can do the workout optimally.  Learn your body and know yourself. The type of workout you have planned will likely determine whether you can or cannot do it fastest. You can find out more about fasted cardio here.

Post-Workout Meal

Next, your post workout meal will most heavily depend on the goals you have set for yourself. If you are seeking fat loss, you have a certain macro limit you need to maintain for the day, so your post workout intake will be lower than someone who is aiming to gain mass.

Look at your overall diet and then calculate your post workout meal from there. Just note that this is a critical time to eat, so you do want to allocate at least some carbs to this period, as well as a good dose of protein in the area of 20-40 grams. Stay away from fats and remember, a good general ratio of carbs to protein is 2 to 1. Of course, this depends on your goals and your training.

It is commonly believed that you must eat within 30 minutes of the workout being over, but I believe you have a little longer than that. If you shoot for between 30-60 minutes, you’ll be fine. Muscle protein synthesis is at its peak during this times and continues to fall after this point. The sooner your meal happens, the better, but never skip your post-workout meal.

A good Whey Protein Isolate is a really great way to get the protein that your body requires to recover.

Now that you have some information about pre and post workout nutrition. Have a look at your current approach and see how it stacks up.

Ask yourself…Could I do a better job in either of these two feeding windows?

Attempting to figure out what works for your specific goals can be very frustrating, especially with all of the conflicting information on the web. So let our experts do it for you. We have completed over 40,000 custom meal plans to date — these plans are designed unique to your body type, around your wants, needs, and goals. We also take into consideration your activity level to make sure you know exactly what to, and when, every day of the week removing 100% of the guesswork.

Here’s an example of just one of our clients, Joey Marzo, and the power our custom meal plans can have in just 30 short days. Pretty impressive, huh?

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