You take out time to hit the gym regularly from your busy schedule, You pack your gym bag, you make sure your gym outfit is comfortable, you buy right kind of shoes too but is that all enough?? You must have seen many people doing workouts daily and taking a low-calorie diet too and still don’t reduce their weight. The reason could be as simple as they are not having their pre and post-workout meals or if they are taking, it’s not at the right time or not the right food! Just like how your phone or laptop needs a charge, your body also needs fuel before starting that aggressive workout.
Why: By eating a pre-workout snack, we’re going to reduce muscle glycogen depletion. What does this mean? During exercise, the body converts glycogen into glucose which plays an important role in contracting muscles. This is where CARBS comes into play. We have to replenish Glycogen stores so they don’t run out. When you are doing workouts at the gym you need to fuel up your body, as your body needs the energy to carry out that heavy workout. If you are doing workout empty stomach, it will increase muscle protein breakdown, which means in simple words that your body will start eating up your muscles for energy purposes. If you are looking for muscle growth then that can only happen if the production of protein increases protein breakdown… this is where PROTEIN comes into play.
What: So now it’s pretty obvious what we’re supposed to be eating a combination of Proteins and carbs before our workout to protect our body to go in “catabolic” state. Now you may wonder as they say that carbs make you gain weight…..STOP. There are two types of carbs, simple and complex that you require at different time and for different purposes.
Nutrient-rich examples of pre-workout meals include:
- Oatmeal with berries, a few nuts, low-fat Greek yogurt and water
- Grilled chicken, egg whites, brown rice, green beans, and unsweetened-tea
- Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, and avocado, sweet potato or fruit and water
When: As we discussed earlier timing is important, try to eat your pre-workout snack 30-60 minutes before your workout. If you work out early in the morning and don’t have time to eat hours before, try a granola bar, banana or even dry cereal or crackers 15-30 minutes before you get moving.
If the workout will be intense or extra long, pump the snack up to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, protein bar or even a smoothie with whey protein, fruit, and water.
Why: After a workout, your body is in the “Anabolic/Building” stage when your muscles are “recovering” and “replenishing”. If you don’t feed your body it’s going to start eating the protein/muscle in your body… and that will be the last thing that you want to happen.
Post-workout snack also allows you to gain more lean muscle, which leads to better metabolism and fat burning ability as well as faster recovery, with comparatively less soreness and future performance.
Therefore, try consuming the two macros in a ratio of 3:1 (carbs to protein).
What: Supply your muscles with carbohydrates to replace whatever glycogen was wasted off in exercise. Simple carbohydrates are ideal immediately post-workout because they break down quickly, such as fruits.
Consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins.
Consuming 1.1–1.5 grams/kg of body weight within 30-45 minutes after training results in proper glycogen resynthesis
Furthermore, insulin secretion, which promotes glycogen synthesis, is better stimulated when carbs and protein are consumed at the same time
Exercise can cause muscle breakdown and high-quality protein, like milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese, and lean meats can help rebuild and repair muscle fibers.
Whey protein is a good choice after a workout as your body can digest it quickly and it contains the highest content of leucine, an amino acid that has been shown to help build and repair muscles after a workout.
Also, don’t forget to rehydrate yourself with fluid and electrolytes you sweated out during exercise.
Carbs: Include things like sweet potatoes, milk, brown rice, fruits, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, Dark leafy vegetables.
Protein: Animal or plant-based protein, Eggs, Greek yogurt, Cottage cheese (paneer), Salmon, chicken, protein bar, tuna, sprouted legumes, nuts, nut butter, avocado.
When: Although the timing does not need to be exact, try to eat within 45 minutes of doing a workout. The more you will delay having your post-workout meal the slower the rate will be for glycogen synthesis. For example, as little as two hours after a workout may lead to as much as 50% lower rates of glycogen synthesis.