What to Eat Before a Workout and What to Eat Afterwards
Working out is tough, so you need the right nutrition to fuel every workout. Find out exactly what you should eat before and after a workout.
Getting Nutrition Right
Many bodybuilders spend a lot of time thinking about their workout, and the exercises they will do to build muscle. Yet they often fail to spend as much time thinking about pre-workout and post-workout nutrition. This is a big mistake, as good nutrition is vital if you want to succeed in your bodybuilding program. So let's take a look at what you should eat before and after a workout, in order to ensure the best possible results.
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What to Eat Before a Workout
The foods you eat before your workout are very important. You have to give your body the fuel it requires to help you complete your training successfully. In order to do that, you need to know how long before a workout you need to eat, what types of foods to eat and what supplements to take to help you finish your workout.
Your workout really starts 30-60 minutes before you enter the gym. A light meal at this time will allow your body to begin the process of digestion, ensuring you will have the energy you need to get through your workout.
What to Eat
Your pre-workout meal will be a light one. It should contain low glycemic carbohydrates, lean proteins and be low in fat. Carbohydrates with a low glycemic index will be absorbed slowly into the bloodstream ensuring that they are available for your workout.
Some examples of these types of carbs include beans, sweet potatoes, fruit and whole grain bread. Lean proteins can include chicken, tuna or beef. You should aim for 4-8 ounces of lean protein for your pre-workout meal. The key here is eating light. You don’t want to eat a heavy meal at this time because it will be hard for your body to digest and hamper your training.
Certain supplements can give you an extra boost during your workout, with whey protein shakes being a perennial favorite. A cup of coffee before your workout can boost your performance in the gym. If you really want to maximize your gains than you can also add a supplement containing creatine or branched chain amino acids. Both of these work to preserve muscle while increasing endurance.
What to Eat After a Workout
The time after your workout is even more vital than the pre-workout period. You have trained hard and your body is craving nutrients to help you repair torn muscle fibers. Your body wants carbs and protein and it wants it fast.
After working out, you have a short period of time to maximize your gains. If you eat something that digests quickly within 30 minutes of your workout, and then a larger meal an hour after that, you will consistently see positive results for all your hard work in the gym.
What to Eat
After your workout, fast-digesting proteins are key to your recovery. A protein shake combined with a high-glycemic carbohydrate is the way to go. After a workout, your body needs nutrients quickly. The calories you consume post-training are all going toward building muscle and won’t be stored as fat.
After your workout, you should strive for a ratio of three parts carbohydrates to one part protein. So if you have a shake containing 40 grams of protein, you should also combine that with 120 grams of carbohydrates. This is easy to achieve by adding honey, fruit or some form of sugar to your post-workout shake.
Your post-work recovery continues with a full meal. As with the pre-workout meal, you need to consume lean proteins and lots of low glycemic carbohydrates. Chicken, fish or lean beef coupled with rice and vegetables will give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to help you make a full recovery and help you get back in the gym as soon as possible.
You can add supplements like creatine or BCAAs to your post-workout shake. These supplements will help speed up the recovery process, but they aren't as important as nutrition. Your first priority is getting food into your system.
Feel the Difference
As a bodybuilder, you need to eat healthy meals throughout the day, but you also have to pay special attention to pre-workout and post-workout nutrition. If you eat a light meal before your workout and then a shake and a healthy meal after your workout, you will feel the difference. You’ll have more energy, recover quickly and your muscles will grow.
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