If you ask someone who is experienced at working out, they will tell you that combining their sessions with proper nutrition is the right way to go. However, a lot of people find this combo somewhat perplexing. So, are you supposed to eat before you start to work out or after you are done? Should you do it during a break? Or at the same time?
And of course, a lot of people have no idea what kind of food basic workout nutrition consists of. So, if you are new at this, don’t worry, you are not the only one confused about pre- and post-workout nutrition. That is why, in this article, we are going to cover some of the basic rules, so that everything is much clearer to you.
Some of the basic rules that you should adhere to
For starters, workout nutrition is different based on what kind of sports you are into. There’s a world of difference between a professional athlete with a specific nutritional strategy, and a “regular” person that exercises. The latter really doesn’t need to overdo it. Also, nutrition depends on what your goal is. Do you want to lose weight or gain mass?
Finally, you should always stick to two important rules. First, stay properly hydrated before and after working out. Your body needs to be properly tended with water during the day so that when it’s workout time, it has enough energy to push hard enough. Second, it is the best idea to avoid artificial workout supplements, such as weight-loss boosters, energy boosters, and so on. While you really don’t need them, and they cost a lot, they are also generally full of artificial ingredients that aren’t particularly healthy for your body. It might be okay to take protein powder into consideration, such as true max protein, as long as you make sure it’s not mixed with any artificial additives, vitamins, or flavors. Stay natural!
Pre-workout nutrition heavily depends on your personal goal. If your idea is to lose weight, you should focus on small snacks, or even, work out on an empty stomach. The latter is a pretty good idea, particularly in the morning, because you are working out when your body has no energy stored, so it will turn to your fat in order to get energized. Otherwise, it is all about determining how hungry or worn-out you feel when you are working out. If you do want to eat a snack before getting down to business, make sure that it’s protein-based. This will make sure that your body is properly nourished for a longer period. On the other hand, you can include carbs, if you are doing heavy workout such as intensive running or HIIT.
If, on the other hand, your idea is to gain mass, then you should always go for that pre-workout snack. It should consist of both carbs and proteins, with the main focus on the former. Carbs that are easy to digest fill your body with energy, and save glycogen in your muscles and liver. On the other hand, protein provides with the right about of amino acids.
Nutrition during exercise
While you are exercising, your main goal is to stay hydrated, so generally, water should be just enough. However, if you are, let’s say, running a marathon, you can include a sports drink or gel with carbs that are fast-digestible.
Keep in mind that, after you are done working out, your body simply needs to recover. This means that the nutrition that you take in after the workout should have enough protein to stop your muscle protein from breaking down and trigger muscle synthesis. It should also make sure that your energy storages are replenished.
So, as we have previously mentioned, depending on what your independent goal is (losing weight or gaining mass), you should munch on a post-workout snack. Again, it should have enough of high-quality carbs and protein. The only variation here is that, if you want to lose weight, the number of carbs that you intake should be smaller, while if you are attempting to gain more mass, there needs to be a lot of carbs in your post-workout snack.
The last thing that you need to worry about is timing. If you are a bodybuilder attempting to gain mass, it is of an essence. In that case, all three nutrition stages are important. If you are a runner and have spent two hours on the track, it is logical that you should eat something not so long after you are done. Basically, it’s all about your personal goals.
But keep in mind that eating nothing is out of the picture. Your body needs the nutrition in order to have enough energy to sustain your workout sessions, and also to recover after you are finished with exercising.