It is a common metaphor to compare our bodies to cars and it couldn't be more true. Your body is like a Ferrari. You wouldn't get on the freeway and drive without oil and gas.
Think of your body the same way. It needs very specific fuel and nutrition so that it runs optimally, performs, and gives you its best so that you can reach your goals.
The point of a workout is to go into it supremely energized and primed so you can challenge yourself beyond your current ability. Your body is a machine. Eating something before a workout gives you the foundation to work your hardest so you are building the most amount of muscle possible and getting the most from your workout of choice. This will help boost your metabolism and therefore create a flame that burns calories. When you become more fit, you have the ability to burn off body fat more efficiently.
You want a combination of easily digestible protein paired with a moderately fast carbohydrate. I suggest that you eat an easily digestible protein and carb-rich snack 30 minutes before you head out, such as a glass of skim milk, non-fat yogurt or a low-fat string cheese with an apple. With this said, the harder or longer your workout is, the more important the snack becomes.
After a long road trip, I like to fill my car with gas again before I get home. Our bodies are the same. A five mile run or one hour of weight lifting burns energy and “stresses” muscles. Post workout, it is essential to get food into your body immediately to refuel and begin the recovery process.
I often start this process while walking out of the gym locker room. The goal of your post-workout snack is 1) to provide fast proteins to muscles so they can begin the recovery process (this may help prevent muscle soreness, and will ensure a great workout tomorrow) and 2) provide fast carbohydrates to restore muscle and liver glycogen levels and to stabilize your blood sugar. After a workout, your body has a stronger propensity to refuel. Meaning, what you put in will be absorbed and utilized more effectively than if you wait 1-2 hours to eat.
The laboratory world of food science has proven that some foods get “assimilated” faster in your body than others. For example, dairy gets absorbed much faster than beef and table sugar gets absorbed faster than strawberries. It's beneficial to choose a combination of protein and carbohydrate that will pass through your digestion system quickly so that they can be assimilated into your muscles, liver and brain.
You have a unique window after workouts where your body will utilize nutrition faster. Therefore, you want to choose fuels that partner with this process. Faster refuel means faster recovery. This is why sports nutrition products exist. Professional athletes know that their performance is dependent on fuel that is engineered to work with the needs of their body.
Real foods should be the cornerstone of your diet, but utilize scientifically engerineed foods immediately before, during or after workouts. This will help you maximize your workouts and fitness level. Try a Promax bar to provide you with the energy and protein to fuel and recover faster.