Getting ready to sweat on the treadmill? Gearing up for a power yoga session? Preparing for a strenuous sport training schedule or getting started on a strength building workout?
Lend a boost to your workout regime through right blend of nutrients aimed at maximizing performance, refueling depleted energy stores and providing proper recovery. No matter whether you are just a beginner or a professional athlete, no matter whether you are seeking weight loss, building muscles or simply improved stamina, optimum nutrition, both pre and post workout is crucial for all.
Pre Workout Nutrition Advice
Paying attention to what and when you eat is of prime importance, if you wish to achieve a fuel efficient workout. Eating a heavy meal just before exercise may sit uncomfortably heavy in our stomachs and jeopardize the subsequent training sessions. However a small and energy dense meal consumed an hour to 30 minutes before workouts (especially if you exercise in early mornings and your last meal was 8-9 hours before) can ensure that you don’t feel tired halfway through and have plenty of fuel to train properly. The nutrients in the pre workout snack should be readily available and ideally come from a combination of fast digesting, low fiber carbohydrates and lean proteins. A few examples of best pre workout snacks would be a medium sized banana, whey protein based smoothies, 2 egg whites, a slice of wheat bread with a teaspoonful of peanut butter, a bowl of yogurt or a glass of chocolate milk. Staying hydrated is important and so is avoiding high calorie and fat laden snacks before workouts.
Role of Post workout Nutrition
Post workout, our bodies go in a catabolic (muscle breakdown) state, wherein the glycogen and protein stores are used up to fuel the body in a bid to return to its pre exercise state. This 30-60 minute window just after the workout session is often referred to as the ‘window of opportunity’. During this period, the body begins the muscle repair process and replenishes the lost fluids and energy stores. The quantity and quality of foods consumed during this period plays a direct role in ensuring that the broken muscle tissues are repaired adequately and the metabolism is active enough to burn fats. The primary nutrients that we need in our post workout meal or snack are energy providing complex carbohydrates, fast absorbing proteins, fluids containing sodium and potassium and a small amount of healthy fats.
Post Workout Meal Timing
- If you are into heavy training (lasting more than 60 minutes) or body building routine, then consuming creatine and glutamine containing protein isolates along with sugars such as dextrose and malto dextrin immediately after workouts is recommended.
- Creatine and glutamine are the amino acids (building blocks of protein) that work best to limit muscle breakdown and build muscles, post workouts. Simple sugars such as glucose and dextrose help to spike up the blood glucose levels quickly and restore depleted liver glycogen stores.
- Consume 10 to 12 gms of proteins and 30-35 gms of carbohydrates soon after your sessions and follow it up with a 2:1 carb-protein meal after an hour or so.
Here it is important to note that when it comes to fitness training, every individual is different with unique metabolism, nutritional needs and health goals. Finding the right balance between supplementing our bodies optimally to speed recovery and not going overboard with the calorie rich protein and sugar spiked drinks is critical. For those who are into light to moderate exercises or are working out to lose weight, try to restrict your post workout calorie intake to half of what you burned during exercise. So if you burned 200 calories on the treadmill, then go for a 100 calorie snack within an hour of your workout.
Follow up your sweat sessions with these tasty, 400-500 calorie meals to get the most out of your workouts without tipping off the weighing scale.
- Oatmeal and Yogurt with Toasted Pumpkin seeds– Nothing can go wrong with this hearty oat, easy to digest yogurt and unsaturated fat and mineral loaded pumpkin seeds combo.
- Grilled Chicken with Sweet Potatoes – The lean chicken protein and complex carb in sweet potatoes offer a balanced meal, after workouts.
- Tofu stuffed Millet Pancakes with Sliced Apple– Millets and apple provide consistent flow of sugar in your bloodstream and tofu adds the much needed amino acids.
- Multigrain Egg and Spinach Sandwich– Add sliced boiled eggs and steamed spinach in between multigrain bread slices for a power packed post workout snack.
- Daliah Khichdi with Paneer crumble and mixed Veggies– A personal favorite, this savory delight is loaded with all nutrients needed to jumpstart muscle recovery.
Written by Panchali Moitra, published in BPositive Magazine, June 2015