While you may be aware of your TDEE and the total amount of each macronutrient you need to consume each day, you may not be too sure of the most optimal times to eat in order to benefit your training performance and recovery. This article will help you to understand the types of food you should eat pre and post workout.
Increasing alertness and energy before training
It’s important to go into a training session feeling energised and alert. Depending on your personal preference you can either plan your meals around your training or opt for a pre-workout supplement.
During physical activity, and especially resistance training, the body relies on glycogen stores for energy. These stores consist of glucose (sugar) and are very important when it comes it short and sharp bursts of energy. Unfortunately, glycogen stores are limited and can deplete as early as 20 minutes into a high intensity workout session, which will result in a decrease in your output energy.
In order to help prolong the life of your glycogen stores, you can consume 60g of carbohydrates 45 minutes to an hour before your session. Ideally you should pick easy to digest, simple carbohydrate sources such as fruit. It’s also worth noting that consuming a 20g portion of protein with this meal may well increase muscular performance and recovery.
Stimulants to increase your energy and alertness
For those of you who train in the morning and don’t like to eat food beforehand, you may wish to use a stimulant to help boost your alertness and energy before training.
As you’re probably aware, caffeine can help to curb hunger feelings and improve your speed, endurance and alertness. However, there are a number of other stimulants beneficial to performance which you should consider supplementing.
One of these caffeine alternatives is Citrulline Malate, which is a combination of citrulline (amino acid L-Citrulline) and malate (a salt compound). Citrulline helps to improve endurance and decrease fatigue, while malate is thought to increase water retention and thus aid in hydration (which counteracts dehydration caused by caffeine); due to this, Citrulline Malate also improves your “pump” when training.
Coffee is a great source of caffeine but is lacking any additional benefits. A great energy-boosting alternative to a coffee is BULK POWDERS® caffeine-filled Complete Pre-Workout™, which also contains citrulline malate.
Foods that help with recovery – Glycogen replenishment and muscle protein synthesis
Post workout nutrition helps muscles to repair & build, and also replenishes your glycogen stores, so it’s important to give your body the fuel it needs to begin the process of recovery. You should aim to consume your post-workout meal within 2 hours of completing your workout.
As you’ll have just depleted your glycogen stores during your workout, you’ll need to make sure you consume enough carbohydrates to replenish the stores. Additionally, it’s paramount that you consume enough protein to aid in muscle protein synthesis as the muscles have been broken down during resistance training. Ideally you should aim to consume 60g of carbohydrates and 30g of protein within your 2-hour post-workout window; you may wish to split this into two servings as well, one immediately after your workout and one an hour later.
A great way to get your first post-workout hit of carbs and protein is by supplementing a protein shake such as BULK POWDERS® Complete All In One™. Whey protein has one of the fastest protein absorption rates, so it’s perfect for post-workout consumption. Additionally, Complete All In One™ contains 20.4g of carbohydrates per serving to help kick-start that glycogen replenishment.
Take home message
In order to aid your body in optimal performance and recovery, you should definitely consider these tips.
Pre- & Post-Workout Nutrition Tips:
- Consume 60g of simple carbs and 20g protein 45-60mins before training
- Supplement caffeine & citrulline malate (Pre-Workout)
- Post-workout, immediately drink an easily digestible shake containing both carbohydrates and protein and then consume a further post-workout meal an hour later
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
George Platt (BA, Hons.) is a Personal Trainer, Online Coach and Fitness/Nutrition Writer. George’s passion for physical activity and health developed from a young age after having open heart surgery. You can find out more about George via his website or Instagram: @GeorgePFitness93.