If You’re Gonna Train, You Gotta Eat

By August 25, 2019 March 2nd, 2020 blog, Nutrition
It will be hard to give it your all during the session if you haven’t properly fueled your body. You gotta eat! Have a light breakfast before early morning sessions, and a meal and/or snack before mid-day or evening sessions. Everyone is different so you may need a little more or a little less to eat, and the time you need to eat will vary. Experiment and take note of your energy levels!

Pre-Workout Nutrition

Generally speaking, you’ll want to have a mixed meal that includes a protein and a carb 2-3 hours before your workout. (Ok y’all, I’m talking about more than just an apple. Add some protein, ok?) This will help your energy levels, preserve muscle mass and also help with recovery. Most of us don’t need to get fancy with what we eat, just focus on food quality and what makes you feel best before, during and after training.
How much you eat and exactly how long you eat before your workout will depend on each individual, as well as what type of training you’ll be doing. If it’s a few hours before your training, you may just have a regular meal (lean protein, carbs, veggies and a fat). For example, if you eat lunch at 2pm and train at 5pm, you may not need anything between lunch and your training session. (But if you eat lunch at Noon and train at 5pm, you likely need a mixed meal for some fuel.) If you eat an hour before your workout then you may opt for a smaller meal, or a protein shake if you are pressed for time (and you know this won’t bother your stomach). In addition, some people who train early in the morning may feel best on an empty stomach and then plan to enjoy a healthy breakfast afterwards. Others may opt to eat a small meal before early morning training.

Some ideas for pre-workout meals:

-Greek yogurt (or any high protein yogurt) with fruit and nuts

-Oatmeal with nut butter and/or protein powder and fruit

-Smoothie with protein powder and a serving of fruit

-Whole grain toast with nut butter and banana

If you are new to exercise or new to exercising at a certain time, then it may take some trial and error to see what works best for you. It will take your body some time to adjust to exercise in general, or exercising at a new time (we see this especially with 5am and 6am times). Pay attention to how you feel during and after your workouts, adjust as needed and keep it simple with real food.
And honestly, if you’ve skipped meals during the day it might be a good day to reschedule your workout. It’s very likely you won’t have the energy needed and it can really leave you feeling wiped out.
Post-Workout Nutrition
Post-Workout Nutrition is just as important as sleep in the recovery process; however, don’t get wrapped up in it. Keep it simple.
Try to eat a whole food meal within 2 hours of your workout. Shoot for about 20 – 30 grams of protein and a whole food carb (whole food so your insulin won’t spike). What you eat may depend upon time of day and what you ate before you worked out.
Post-workout nutrition replenishes energy stores and repairs any damage caused by the workout. When we work out intensely, we damage tissues. This is what ultimately makes us stronger/leaner/more muscular. When we work out we are breaking down a lot more than we are building up. Eating protein after exercise can help the building process.

Eating the right foods after your workout can improve your recovery, decrease muscle soreness, increase your ability to build muscle, improve immune function, improve bone mass and improve the body’s ability to utilize fat. After you work out, your muscles are ready to accept nutrients that can stimulate muscle repair, muscle growth, and muscle strength.

Don’t forget that what you eat and drink the day before is also going to affect your workout! If you don’t eat foods that give you energy and make you feel good or if you don’t drink enough water, you can definitely feel that the next day during a workout.
What, when and how much to eat before and after workouts is definitely a personal thing. There’s not a one-size-fits all answer. However, I hope that some of the info above can help guide you in the right direction.