When’s the Best Time to Eat Around your Workouts?
Written By: SportsShoes
Nutrition is key to any health and fitness regime, be it in the gym, pounding the pavements running, or playing sport. What you eat and drink before and after training or competing has a huge bearing on performance and could be the difference for a new personal best or shaving a few minutes off your run.
With this in mind, Sportsshoes.com has enlisted PT, James Butterfield to give you the low down on the best time to eataround your workouts and what foods you should be consuming for maximum output.
The human body is a finely tuned machine, fuel it properly and it will repay you.
As most will be aware, the three main macro nutrients are fat, protein, and carbohydrates. The timing and quantities of these nutrients becomes key when applying them to a training programme.
Carbohydrates provide the main source of fuel for the body and as such, need to be the main focus of your nutrition with regards to training. however, they take time to digest and get where they need to be to be effective, so I’m afraid the age-old trick of eating a banana 10 minutes before you train won’t cut it! Aim to have your last meal two hours before you train so the nutrients have fully digested and the energy you will gain from them can be used efficiently.
Examples of good carbs to consume before you train include:
Should your workout be significant time wise, e.g more than an hour, then you should also consider have a sports drink during the session to give you an additional boost.
After a workout, the carbohydrates that have fueled you during exercise need to be replaced in order to restore the glycogen you have used and to boost insulin levels which, in turn, assists your body in utilizing the amino acids from protein to rebuild and repair damaged muscles.
If weight loss is your goal then focusing your carb intake around training becomes even more crucial. Doing this will force the body to use fat stores for energy during the rest of the day. For arguments sake, if you were aiming to have 150g of carbs a day, then 50g either side of training and 50g spread across other meals would be advisable.
When it comes to protein, protein before a workout is a much-contested issue, with some for it, some against. Personally, I see far more benefits when consuming protein post workout. The issue with eating protein before a work out lays in the fact that protein takes much longer to digest than carbs, and as such will stay in the system for longer. When this happens, blood is used for digestion, and therefore muscles being used suffer as they aren’t getting the blood they require.
Post workout protein is essential. Your muscles require protein to repair the damaged fibres, and to promote a quicker recovery. The amino acids in protein work to repair microscopic tears which muscles sustain during exercise, so getting this into your system post workout is key. Women should aim for 20g, men for 40g. Whether this is in a shake, or food, is up to you; shakes allow much more convenience however food will help to suppress the appetite you should have worked up! For those on a budget, check out this handy guide on the best cheap protein rich foods.
To summarize, nutrition around workouts and exercise is key to performance and recovery. Carbs before will ensure you have the necessary fuel to perform for a sustained period, and protein afterwards will aid recovery and repair of muscle tissue.