Want results? Food will give them. People who work out regularly and want clear results have to focus on their pre -and post-workout meals. This food intake within the windows before or after your workout will help you succeed and get results faster and in a healthy way. Starving is never an option! You can’t build a body this way, you’ll only break it down resulting in health issues like hormonal issues or osteoporosis, ect. So.. food is your friend when you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle, lose fat or strengthening your bones and joints.
The reasons why you need a before and after workout meal is crucial for two basic reasons:
- What you eat before a workout is needed to fuel your body, so it has enough energy to give you your maximal performance during the workout. If your body lacks fuel, you’ll feel the lack of energy after a few reps. Followed by feeling very faint, dizzy or nauseous. This can lead to bad form, injury and fainting or throwing up. As you might guess: this won’t benefit your progress in any way. So, eat well before a workout and harvest those results. (This meal is called the pre-workout meal.)
- What you eat after a workout is needed to help your body to regenerate. The body needs to recover after every workout. It needs fuel to feed the muscles, the nervous-system, to stabilize your entire body after such an intense ride. It needs food to underline the workout you’ve just done and to feel fabulous and awesome without feeling fatigued, incredibly sore or too malnourished that you might increase your risk for injury in the future. (This meal is called the post-workout meal.)
People often get confused by all the information about pre -and post workout meals if you start googling it. You see a lot of science stuff fly by, time frames, you get several amino-acids supplements tossed towards you, you’ll suddenly have to take out a scale, but fear not! All you need is carbs and protein. No need to over complicate stuff. Healthy carbs & healthy protein.
Pre Workout Meal: This meal is the last thing you will eat before your workout. It will help your body to kick ass.
1-2 hours before a workout: Protein and carbs. Protein: chicken, beef, eggs, fish, tofu, tempeh, nuts, hemp, ect. Carbs: veggies, brown rice, wild rice, bulgur, quinoa, oats, sweet potatoes, whole wheat sandwich, ect.
Adding a little healthy fat is no problem, but don’t make it too much, since it can be hard to digest within an hour by some people.
30 min before a workout: Have a liquid or easily digested meal. Like a protein shake or a sports optimizer shake, a small salad or fruit with a low glycemic index, like bananas, oranges, apples, grapes, seasonal berries, tomatoes, mangoes, a pear or pineapple.
If you’re doing a tough and long workout, or are having a competition, keep some extra food near you to fuel you and give some extra nutrition when needed. I would recommend a banana, dates, an apple or grapes. It will help you optimize your workout, so you won’t meet, like we Dutch say, the ‘man with the hammer’ mid session.
Little boost before your workout: black coffee, green tea or kombucha.
Post Workout Meal: The post workout meal is the first meal you will eat after your workout within a 60 minute time frame, preferably within 30 minutes.
Within 30 min after the workout: Drink a protein shake. Your body needs to replenish as soon as possible, yet eating solid, whole foods now can be quite demanding on your body in this phase, so liquid food will be better. Your other post workout meal will follow 30/60 minutes later, giving you also enough time to cook. So, for now: fuel that body with a shake. Or! Eat some yogurt with banana: easy digestible and they are a match made in heaven: together they maximize the absorption of muscle repairing glucose and amino-acids.
60 min after a workout: Eat a solid meal containing protein and carbs (yes, again!) You can add fat, that’s no problem as long as you eat the recommended protein and carbs. Protein: beef, chicken, fish, eggs, bacon, Greek yogurt, tofu, seitan, tempeh, legumes, dark greens, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, cheese, hemp, ect. Carbs: brown rice, quinoa, (sweet) potatoes, wild rice, couscous, bulgur, pasta, veggies, whole wheat sandwich, ect.
So Basicly: Pre-workout meals are the architects of your body, while the post workout meals are the construction workers. They have to work together and communicate to end up with a sculpture of a temple that’s called your rocking body.
Ps; Don’t forget to drink enough water before, during and after your workout.
Your body doesn’t just work to build muscle and recover only when you exercise; the body actually does this 24/7. If you strategically time your snacks or meals, you can actually give your body the fuel it needs to gain muscle, burn fat, and recover as best as it possibly can. Pre- and post-workout foods should offer the right mix of carbohydrates, fats, and protein to quench your hunger, give you the energy to power through and burn the most calories, help you build lean muscle and lose weight, and speed up recovery.
Before You Sweat It Out
Whether or not you eat before exercise, your body burns the same amount of fat regardless. However, if you regularly work out without eating first, you may actually cause muscle loss because your body goes into survival mode when you’re hungry, drawing protein from muscle. And muscle loss is something you want to avoid because it can slow down your metabolism, making it harder to lose weight.
Prior to exercising, you should balance your carbs with protein. Try meals that are somewhat high in carbs with moderate protein and are low in fat. Protein will help you with muscle building and repair, but carbs will give you the energy you need to sustain you during a workout. Go for carbs that easily digest, and stay far away from high-fat foods, fried foods, or large amounts of food.
The trick is to time it right by eating within four hours of exercising, and then having a small snack about an hour before working out.
Here are some pre-workout food ideas:
A smoothie made of skim milk blended with frozen fruit
Brown rice with black beans
Whole-grain crackers and low-fat string cheese or hummus
A banana with almond butter
A small sandwhich on whole-wheat bread with chicken, turkey, or lean roast beef
Oatmeal with berries
Low-fat yogurt with a sliced banana
An apple and walnuts
What to Munch on After
In order to replenish energy as well as to build and repair the muscles that were broken down during your workout, you should keep your metabolism strong by eating something that combines protein and carbs about half an hour to an hour after. This could be either solid or liquid form, but the point is that the sooner you ingest it, the better it will be for your body.
Here are some ideas on what to eat immediately after your workout to help speed recovery:
A protein shake
Poached eggs on whole-wheat toast
Sauteed or steamed vegetables
A bowl of quinoa with pecans and black berries
Stir-fried chicken and vegetables over brown rice
Whole-wheat pasta with chicken, broccoli, and eggplant
Multi-grain bread with raw peanut butter
Salad with roasted chickpeas
Whole-grain cereal or oatmeal along with milk and fruit
Keep these in mind to energize your workouts, maximize exercise benefits, and speed up recovery time for your muscles.
Hi, whenever I work out, I always feel very sleepy afterwards. Why's this? I always have pre and post workout food too and eat clean x
Hey! So, there is no exact answer I can give you as a variety of factors could be causing your post workout fatigue– but a few possibilities could be that you are over exerting yourself in your workouts, over training in general, or perhaps not consuming enough calories in a day! Even with pre and post workout nutrition, if you are simply not consuming enough in a day to sustain your body’s needs, after a strenuous workout you will really feel the effects of that deprivation. For the next week or so I would experiment–maybe try taking an added rest day, having days when your workouts aren’t as intense, upping your calories–playing around with your intake and your workout schedule could help you pin down why you feel so fatigued after. Let me know if any of these suggestions help, and definitely feel free to send me another message! xx
omg wow i love you, i'm so glad i stumbled upon this blog. i wanted advice about getting lady abs... how can i achieve this? it feels like i never could get there
Haha thanks! It’s definitely challenging for women to get the same level of “defined” abs (six pack) as men. For women, abs start to get defined around 18% body fat and a six pack won’t emerge until about 12%. For men’s bodies these percentages are nearly double, so a lot of it for women comes down to WHAT YOU EAT more than the workouts you do. Here’s some tips on how to get started on the road to “lady abs” :)
Diet is 80% of the battle. Try to avoid high-carb foods (some carbs are necessary), and simple carbs (white rice, white bread, white pasta) altogether. Carbs are good for pre-workout food, but they are short-term energy so they’re not helpful if eaten, say, before bed. Be careful overdoing it on the dairy, too, as this may lead to bloating and a sluggish-feeling (discouraging a workout).
Make sure to keep your ab exercisesvaried (i.e. don’t do the same 30 frontal crunches every day). If you do the same exercises all the time, you’ll be targeting the same area and neglecting other areas (like if you do a ton of frontal [normal] crunches all the time, you’ll be neglecting the side abs and you’ll only be ‘focusing’ on toning the front of your abs). You need to tone the whole core in order to really see results!
And finally, make sure you’re doingcardioas well. Cardio helps primarily at burning fat, and increasing your whole-body metabolism as well. Ab workouts (and this goes for all conditioning exercises), for the most part, primarily build muscle. You must not only be building muscle for your stomach; you must also be burning fat to get your six pack.
It should take a month or two before you start to notice a really “noteworthy” difference — but I think these are some good ways to get started!
Hey, do you have any suggestions for easy and low fat pre-workout foods/snacks? I started going to the gym about a month ago and Im trying to stay away from pre-workout supplements. Great blog btw keep it up!😊
Keep it simple.
If you have to eat close to your workout: a banana, greek yoghurt 0% and a protein shake.
If you have time: a meal like brown rice, fish and veggies.