Your workout nutrition is important. You wouldn't enter a car into a race without making sure it was fueled up first, so why would you do that to your body?
What you eat before and after a workout truly matters. Always remember that food is your body’s source of fuel and energy. Without proper fuel, it is impossible to reach optimal performance in your workouts. Increased strength leads to an increase in muscle mass, which results in more calories burned at rest. In order for this to happen, proper fuel intake is essential, especially before and after a workout. Many people tend to shy away from carbohydrates specifically, but they play such a significant role in fitness and changes in body composition. Choosing high quality foods (unprocessed, real food without added sugar, high amounts of sodium and preservatives) is essential.Carbohydrates are your energy source during intense exercise. They also help to preserve tissue protein. Depleting carbohydrate reserves increases the breakdown of protein during exercise. Not enough carbohydrates means that your body will begin to break down your muscle tissue to fuel your body, which is exactly the opposite of what you want to happen!You should eat a pre-workout meal about two hours before your workout. This gives your body enough time to digest. The size of this meal depends upon your hunger levels. If you are super hungry, then make it the size of a main meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner style). If not, smaller will do. It is always best to listen to your body. Your meal should consist of a protein and a carb at the very least. Here are some great examples:
Tofu or tempeh with a side of veggies. Sweet potatoes are great!
Protein shake blended with 1 serving of fruit & 1 handful baby spinach
Some vegetarian or pescetarian options include:
Eggs with Ezekiel toast
Wild caught fish (i.e. salmon) with a side of veggies and brown rice
When it comes to post-workout nutrition, your best option is a protein shake that includes a carb. Not all protein powders are created equal. Be sure to choose one that does not contain artificial flavors and preservatives. For example, blend 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 scoop ofSunwarrior protein powder, 1 banana or some berries and some crushed ice. You can also add a handful of greens, like baby spinach, for an added boost. It is important to consume this shake as soon as you can after your workout in order to refuel your body and muscles (usually within 45 minutes max). It isn’t a good idea to skip out on meals, especially after a workout. Your body needs nutrients to repair itself after the stress placed on the body during exercise (any exercise induces some kind of stress to the body).Incorporating the use of pre- and post-workout nutrition will increase the quality of your workouts, along with changes in body composition. Providing your body with enough fuel through the use of high quality foods is truly game changing. Always remember that fats and carbohydrates are just as important as protein. Eat like an athlete and train like a champion!Learn more about what to eat before and after a work out!