This month we are taking a look at peri-workout nutrition (what to eat/drink before, during, and after exercising). For the sake of this article lets assume we are talking about a combination of resistance training (lifting weights) and cardiovascular exercise (increase in heart rate) that would be found in one of our CrossFit classes.
It is also important to note that YOUR goals and body size will largely dictate the amount of calories/protein/carb/fat. We'll leave a few recommendations out there, but you will have to personalize it for yourself.
Your pre-workout meal should be consumed 1-3 hours prior to workout. The bigger the meal, the further it should be from your workout. Consuming too much food, too close to a workout, will lead to an upset stomach and potentially decreased performance.
The pre-workout meal should contain protein and carbohydrate. There should be very little fat in this meal, if any. Shoot for around 10-30g of protein and 20-60g of carbohydrate. An example meal of this type would be a lean protein source (chicken, fish, beef, etc) combined with a healthy carb source (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, sweet potato, fruit).
We also recommend drinking at least 16oz of water around one hour prior to your workout, along with water throughout the day.
During your workout it is important to stay hydrated. Most people will benefit from drinking at least one full water bottle (16-24oz) throughout the workout. If the goal is to gain weight, a sports drink (Gatorade, Powerade) could help to add more calories to your total intake. Do not drink to much so that you feel full and sick, as this would not improve your performance.
We have many options for post workout nutrition. Always remember, any food post-workout is better than no food. The post-workout nutrition will look very similar to our pre-workout recommendations.
This meal should be consumed very soon after the workout. Although there is debate whether or not it needs to be immediately after, we recommend consuming this meal when possible. Many individuals will go for a shake while others will go for a nice meal. Both options work just fine.
We recommend 20-40g protein and 30-60g of carbohydate. If the workout is higher volume (meaning more reps) then it would probably be a good idea to consume more carbs. This will aid in recovery and help to prepare the body for the next workout. An example of this would be Gatorade and protein blended together. Another example would be a lean protein source combined with a carb source.
This is a general recommendation. There will be differences for each individual, as there should be. Some individuals may find that certain types or amounts of food upset their stomachs in the pre-workout window. It is best to find what works for you in terms of how you feel and how you recover.