What does it mean to fuel well around your workouts?
Questions I often hear are:
Should I eat before a workout? If so, what should I eat? What should I eat after a workout?
Exercising takes energy. Energy comes from the food you eat. If you do not eat, your body does not have the fuel it needs to perform at its best, similar to a car needing fuel to perform at its best.
Pre Workout Nutrition
It is recommended that a person eats something light and easy to digest about 30-90 minutes before a workout. This gives your body time to digest the food and convert it into energy. Fast and easily digested food comes in the form of carbohydrates. Carbs are known as fast energy. This pre-workout snack should be about 100-200 calories, nothing more than that. Think a third to a half of a serving size of your regular meal.
Examples of foods that digest quickly and provide good energy for your body are vegetables, fruit, grains (like a piece of toast or oatmeal), and granola bars (check that the sugar content is below 5g/serving). If you don’t have much time before your workout and it has been more than 3 hours since your last meal, a pouch of applesauce or Fuel for Fire is a great option.
You may need to try a few different things to find the best option for your body. However, working out in a completely fasted state may cause your workouts to suffer. You may also feel faint, light headed or nauseous. If you have always exercised in a fasted state, you may not even know the power and energy you are missing. I encourage you to experiment with eating a bit before your workouts and see if you notice a difference in how you feel.
Post Workout Nutrition
After our workouts, our muscles are depleted, they are ready to be re-fueled. This is when protein is the best option. A fast absorbing protein, such as an Ascent protein shake or protein water, is a great option if you are not able to eat a meal within 30-60 minutes of finishing your workout. Whey protein is fast absorbing and if your diet is plant based, pea protein is a great option. If you use a supplement, always check the label to make sure you are not consuming additional sugar or that there are added fillers that you can’t pronounce, a bonus would be to look for a whey protein isolate over a concentrate.
Your body needs quality nutrients after a workout, not sugar. If you are able to have a snack or meal after your workout, a protein plus carb combination is the best choice. We want to consume about 20-30g of protein and carbohydrates after a workout to sufficiently re-fuel our bodies.
*Avoid foods high in fat (such as peanut butter, almond butter, avocado, butter, etc) around your workouts as much as possible. A high fat snack can cause indigestion as they require more energy and blood flow to breakdown in your stomach.
For more information about what to eat before and after your workouts check out the link below!
Need help staying on consistent with the nutrition tips above?
The Fit2Live Nutrition Coaching Program can help!