I hear so often from clients, “What should I eat before and after my workouts?” Now for many of us whom are not a level 3 athletes we do not have to worry about nutrient timing. However, we still need to make sure we fuel so we do not tank in the middle of your workout.
Therefore, here is the rule of thumb:
3 hours before a workout have your meal. You want think about a meal that will sustain energy and boast performance. We want to hydrate and eat what can promote good recovery. Your meal should include proteins, carbs and fats. Men should have 2-palm size portion of protein, 2-cupped hands of carbs and 2-thumb length of fats. If you are female then cut this plan in ½. Take into consideration if you an early morning person this is not going to be possible. I do not care how much you like to work out, if you get up at three AM every day to eat breakfast for a 6 am workout, sleep deprivation will be your demise.
Next this 45 to 60 minutes pre- work (this is mostly likely the 6 amer option)
Super Shakes: Recipe by Precision Nutrition
One scoop protein powder
1-2 cups carbs like berries and bananas
One thumb of fat (nut butter, seeds, hemp)
8 oz. water or milk (cow, goat or nut)
Mix well and drink slowly, you do not want lead gut. Not into liquids, try Greek yogurt with all the fixings as above instead.
If you know your are doing workouts greater than 2 hours prepare a mid-workout fuel option. Hydrate using water or sports drinks. Think about 15 grams of protein and 30-45 grams of carbs. This can come in the form of a liquid, gel or protein bar. Test out a couple of options you do not want a sudden case of the poops in the middle of your 20 mile run.
Finally, the Post Workout
Recovery-re-hydrate-refuel: Within 2 hours of your workout get your cook on and prepare a feast! Using the same guidelines as above for the pre-workout meal. Not ready for a meal, flip-flop your options and have your monster shake now and hold the meal until later.
These are guidelines are just that, what and how much you eat does depend on your body comp, energy output and type of exercise. Therefore, as long you hydrate and eat whole foods throughout the day your body will never know hunger and the ability to perform will always be there.
Stacie A. Zamperini M.Ed.