What are the best practices for pre- and post-workout nutrition?

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by Obi Obadike Nov 07, 2012

I still don’t know what I should be eating and why!
Well, if you go by what Hulk Hogan famously said, all you need for physique success are prayers, weights, and vitamins. He’s right in a sense, but he was missing one crucial aspect: pre- and post-workout nutrition.

You need to consume the right meals before and after you train so you have the energy to get through a strenuous workout and the proper nutrients for muscle growth and fat burn. Nutrition, as it turns out, is 80 percent of the ripped-body battle.

Optimizing your workout nutrition improves your workouts, repairs your muscles, and builds or maintains muscle mass efficiently. If you’re not exactly sure what you should be putting on your plate or in your shaker bottle, the following guidelines will help.

Pre-Workout Meal
In order to crush a tough workout, you need fuel. Food is your fuel. Before you hit the iron, make sure you get in a meal of good carbs and protein.

Top nutrition and fitness expert Alan Aragon suggests consuming a pre-workout meal 60-90 minutes before training. He also advises that your meal should consist of 0.25 grams of protein and carbs per pound of your target bodyweight. Your protein sources can come from chicken, turkey, fish, beef, and egg whites. For complex carbs, eat low-glycemic-index foods such as oatmeal or brown rice.

Post-Workout Meal
The post-workout meal helps your body repair and replenish itself after breaking down the muscles. After training, your body is ready to accept the carbs and proteins needed to grow.

Aragon says you should consume a liquid or solid meal 30-60 minutes after you train. In other words, if you don’t have a post-workout shake immediately after your last set, you’ll still be able to meet your goals. He also recommends eating a meal with 0.25 grams of protein and 0.25-0.5 grams of carbs per pound of your target bodyweight.

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