I had a great question asked to me the other day about what I do for pre and post workout nutrition. Keep in mind that everyone is different when it comes to what works for their bodies and what doesn’t. I have had to go through a lot of experimentation to find out what works for my body and I’m here to share that with you as well as give you some other suggestions to try out if you are still experimenting.
I normally workout in the afternoons due to my class schedule. Because of this, I always make sure I eat some sort of complex carb in my lunch (usually oats, but sometimes brown rice). The time I eat my lunch varies each day due to my classes, but it usually falls between 11am and 1pm. If I eat an earlier lunch (11am) and won’t be able to workout until 3pm (my usual workout time), than I will usually have a scoop of protein powder or one of Jamie Eason’s homemade protein bars. If I am planning on doing cardio along with weights, which only happens once or twice a week then I will most likely have a protein bar or something with a little more carbohydrate then just a shake, but if I am just lifting then a protein shake does the trick.
If I eat my lunch on the later side, then depending on my energy and hunger levels, I will probably workout without having something right before, but if I am feeling my energy levels drop then I will definitely have something like I mentioned above. One thing I always have before a workout is coffee! Coffee contains caffeine, which really enhances my performance when working out. It gives me a great boost in energy to push through and increase my weights or my run faster on my sprints.
Post workout when lifting is always a protein shake (+ fruit sometimes). While some people don’t notice the difference with or without protein powder, I certainly do! If I’m just doing cardio, which is usually only Sunday’s and Tuesday’s (I do cardio 3x a week- Thursday is cardio + weights), then I won’t refuel with anything. Sunday is usually a 3-4 mile run and Tuesdays and Thursdays are HIIT. I just wait until my next meal to eat after those and I don’t notice any difference.
Some recommendations to try out if you are still figuring out what works best for you:
Pre-workout: a banana, protein shake (whey) (for my protein powder suggestions click HERE), fruit, granola bar, fruit and nut butter (typically something with a little bit of carbohydrate, protein or fat depending on what activity you are doing)
Post workout: Protein shake (whey), protein shake and fruit (fructose after lifting is really beneficial as it replenishes your glycogen stores, which are used up during lifting via the Glycolytic Pathway), cottage cheese, yogurt, oats (typical something heavy in protein, moderate in carbs- (unless this is after a long run) and little to no fat as it inhibits the efficiency of protein and carbohydrate absorption)
Before Bed: Before bed on lifting days I always have a casein shake. Casein protein powder is slow digesting as opposed to whey, which is fast digesting and while not all believe in it, I think it is a great way to get in some more protein so your muscles can build and repair all night long
So, I hope that helped inform you guys on what to do pre and post workout! Like I said, it took me time to figure out what works for my body. Definitely a trial and error process but it is worth the effort!