Your muscles need proper fuel in order to improve size, strength and function, which means you need to choose the correct type of protein bars and food, pre- and post-workout. The more intense the workout, the more strategic you need to be regarding nutrition in order to maximize your time in the gym. Two main nutrients play a part in this process: carbs and protein. Both are required for your body, and muscles, to function properly. In addition, you should make sure to get a good mix of other vitamins and minerals, as well.
- Eat one to two meals prior to working out. This ensures your body has the fuel it needs to complete the workout. Women should include 20 to 30 grams of complex carbs paired with 15 to 20 grams of protein. Men should include 30 to 40 grams of complex carbs and 25 to 30 grams of protein. The best foods to include are lean proteins, vegetables, sweet potatoes, grains, beans, or dark colored berries.
- Taking protein prior to a workout will ensure that you protect your hard-earned muscle during your workout.. You can incorporate a protein powder in a shake or smoothie, or you can opt for a protein bar. If you are unable to eat a real food meal, this is a great option to fuel your workout. Be sure to combine some faster digesting carbs with your protein shake, and check the macronutrient content on your protein bar.
- Post-workout meal planning is very important for optimal muscle growth. Here too, your meal should consist of both protein and complex carbs. The meal should include slightly more carbs than protein and very little fat. Men will need 30 to 45 grams of protein and women should aim for 20 to 25 grams.
- Fats are essential to a balanced diet, and are actually good for you in moderation. However, try to avoid them during the post-workout period. Consuming fats after working out can cause food to sit in the stomach and intestines, forcing your body to absorb the carbs instead of storing them.
- Another important factor in your pre- and post-workout meals is timing. You should consume the pre-workout meal 30 to 60 minutes before working out to ensure digestion. Eating too soon before a workout can cause digestive upset, and eating too far before a workout will result in ineffective fueling. Post-workout, you should eat immediately. Many experts recommend consuming a protein bar before exercise and a fast digesting protein smoothie after.
Ensuring that you eat properly before and after a workout can help you to see the results of your hard work much faster. Timing, and ensuring you reach the optimal amount of protein and carbs is essential to success. High intensity workouts demand higher carbohydrate fueling. Around your workouts is the time to forgo a low-carb diet. To maximize energy, recovery and results, carbs are critical. This is why it is essential to balance your protein and carb intake, as opposed to limiting carbs. Another benefit of pre- and post-workout meals is that you have a variety of foods to choose from. You can choose to have nutrition bars and smoothies, or you could eat whole foods.
For more information on proper nutrition before and after working out, contact us at Promax Nutrition.