What should I eat before and/or after a workout?
We get this question quite a lot. While we will get into specific strategies next week it is important to know where you might be going wrong.
There are 5 main mistakes people make with their nutrition in regards to workouts.
Check them out and make sure you have a plan to NOT make these!
Not eating anything prior to working out.
I know you might have heard something about how fasted cardio is great for fat loss. While it is true you might burn a higher percentage of fat you are not actually burning any more calories so any fat loss will be determined by your total calorie intake for the day.
Additionally working out in a fasted state uses twice as much protein from muscle for energy which is not a good thing.
More muscle breakdown = less lean muscle = lower metabolism (and probably a loss of strength)
Eating too much and close to working out.
When we eat our body needs to go through the digestion process. Our blood supply shifts towards the intestines and stomach during this process and away from our muscles. If we eat too much or too close to working out then we can feel weak, dizzy and/or nauseous.
Eating the wrong type of food.
Certain foods take longer to digest or they don’t provide the right fuel for exercise. If we eat foods high in fat, protein, or fiber the same consequences from above might be experienced. Having a mix of some easily digestible protein and carbohydrate is going to be our best bet close to our workouts. The closer we get to a workout the more we want to skew towards small amounts of easily digestible carbs to help give us a little workout boost.
Not eating soon enough post workout.
When you exercise your body magically increases your ability to rebuild your muscle protein for a certain amount of time. It is generally recommended that you eat or drink some form of protein within 45 minutes of exercise to take advantage of this window. You are not going to suddenly waste away if you don’t but if you can then it will enhance your ability to recover and maintain lean muscle mass. This is probably the best time for a protein shake or bar if you can’t have a regular protein packed meal until later.
Overthinking all of this.
While we don’t want to make any of these mistakes over and over. If we obsess about getting them exactly right that is not going to serve us in any way. So it’s okay to sometimes not eat before you workout. Just pay attention to how you feel and go a little slower if you need to. Same goes for if you accidently ate too much.
You might not get the absolute best workout you’ve ever had but you can still move and sweat and enjoy yourself. So while you should strive to get some of these things tested and dialed in, give yourself a break if they aren’t always exactly on point.
Progress over Perfection and have some fun in the Process.
Are you currently making any of these mistakes?
Tune in next week for some ideal pre and post snacks to have you crushing workouts and recovering like a champ!