I get many questions about pre and post workout nutrition. Do I eat before I work out or should I workout on an empty stomach? There are good arguments both ways, but I recommend eating at least a little something. If you are working out with no food in your stomach (most times in the morning) your body is already at a low glucose state. The increase exercise will soon cause you to break down muscle in order to provide the body with enough energy to make it through the workout. It is generally ok to eat a regular meal 2.5 hours before a workout, but anything sooner and you might be asking for it to come back up! I recommend eating a little something within 30 minutes of starting to exercise. This will do a couple things: it will provide the body with some energy to get more out of the workout, it will prevent your body from eating its muscle, and it primes the body to recover and heal faster after the workout.
For after a workout your body gives you a 45 minute window where the muscle fibers are very receptive to protein, in fact, it is 400% more receptive to protein. So it is important to get enough quick absorbing protein into the muscle cells as possible to aid in muscle recovery. In order to more quickly and efficiently get this protein into the muscle, you need simple sugars to shuttle that in. Think of the sugar as a high speed train, carrying the protein into the muscle. Without the sugar it would be like a biker trying to bike the protein into the muscle, much slower and less efficient. So the sugar you consume after a workout (assuming it isn’t too much) will be used to replenish glycogen stores in the liver and muscle, which means you don’t have to worry about it getting stored as fat.
In both the pre and the post workout meal, it is important to not eat fat, because fat slows the absorption rate down, making it more difficult for the protein to get shuttled into the muscle… think of the fat as rush hour traffic for the biker or train.
Well there you have it, the geeky and scientific part of pre and post workout meals.
Now here is my moms post and her suggestions!
Today’s topic is another good one that was requested. I have learned that I have been doing it wrong; typically, I’ll take a protein shake along to the “Y” and drink maybe a fourth of it before working out and save the rest for afterwards. This part is fine, Dustin says. However, I put all but the kitchen sink in this drink, including ground flaxseed-a big no-no! I have learned that this drink is ONLY simple carbs and protein, NO fats! And it should be in a ratio of about 2:1 or 3:1, carbs:protein, with 50-100 cals before and 2-300 cals after the workout, depending on your size. Read More