Monday, March 26, 2012

Pre and Post - Workout Nutrition

The most important parts of every single diet and/or healthy eating plan, regardless of your goal, are your total daily calorie and nutrient intake. The second most important aspect of your nutrition plan is simple and scientifically proven, that is, your PRE and POST workout meals.

Meals that surround your workout play a key role in the effectiveness of those workouts. Your pre-workout meal is crucial for fueling the workout itself and maximizing your performance throughout. Your post-workout is crucial for optimizing the recovery process. This begins as soon as your workout ends – remember this is when the muscle grows.

Pre and Post workout nutrition is another area that is full of fads, expert advice and the products of supplement companies that complicate the subject. I will try to simplify for you. The simple truth comes down to timing and consumption of proteins and carbs.

The primary goal of the PRE-workout meal is to reduce muscle glycogen depletion, reduce muscle breakdown and reduce post workout cortisol levels. Your PRE-workout meal should take place 1-2 hours before your workout and consists of a good amount of protein (chicken, fish, beef, egg whites, etc.), and a good amount of the right type of carbs (brown rice, oatmeal, or any lower glycemic source).

Your POST-workout meal plays the largest role in supplying your body with everything it will need to repair, replenish and recover from the training stress. The goal of the POST workout meal is to replenish muscle glycogen, reduce muscle breakdown caused by exercise, increase muscle growth, reduce muscle soreness and fatigue and reduce cortisol levels.

It is critical that your POST workout meal consists of a nice amount of both protein and carbs and is eaten sometime within the first 30 - 60 minutes after your workout. It is a personal preference on whether you drink a protein shake, eat a protein bar or have a bigger meal with some more carbs than you normally would accept in at a regular meal. The key is to ingest those protein and carbs no later than 60 mins after your workout. Your body needs to be fed to recover.

In both meals, PRE and POST, you should stay away from fats (even healthy fats). Fats will slow the digestion period and interfere with the protein/carbs you need to bolster your workout.

Keep it simple and as long as you are doing PRE and POST with protein/carbs – you are doing the right thing.

Stay tuned……….

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