The best way to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to your workout is to make sure your nutrition before and after training is handled optimally!
You put in the work in the gym and you deserve to have the best results possible.
Outlined below are some workout nutrition recommendations and some helpful hints to manage your pre- and post-workout nutrition.
When you eat your food can impact your results or how you feel during your workout. Eating too far away from your workout can cause more fatigue during your workout and eating too close to a workout can give you stomach ache! Aim to get a post workout meal in 1-2 hours before your training session (Aragon & Schoenfeld, p. 11, 2013).
Experiment with the 1-2 hours window before you workout and figure out what feels best for you to make sure your chosen meal timing works for your schedule. Any fitness goals you make should be maintainable and sustainable for the long-term, and this includes expectations you set for yourself regarding meal timing.
- 10-15% of your daily protein intake
- 25% of your daily carb intake
- 15% of your daily fat intake
Having your post-workout snack or meal within a certain time frame can help the recovery process begin faster! Remember, you tear muscles in the gym, and proper nutrition – coupled with solid hydration and quality sleep – helps the tissues recover.
Within 2 hours after you train, you want to be sure to get in a normal sized meal with adequate protein and carbohydrates. The glycogen in the carbs will help get the protein and essential aminos in the proteins to your muscles to kickstart the recovery process.
A lot of people opt to get in a protein shake directly after working out. Protein shakes are a great nutrition supplement to incorporate. These are more effectively paired with a simple carbohydrate source – think sour patch kids or fruit snacks! This is also a good option in case you don’t have an opportunity to eat a full meal within that 2 hour window.
If you do train fasted or haven’t eaten for 4-6 hours before you train, it is beneficial to eat your post-workout meal sooner after training whereas if you ate a full pre-workout meal, you can time that meal farther away from your training session (Aragon & Schoenfeld, p. 11-12, 2013).
Following any kind of “anabolic window” bro-science rule may or may not work; studies show conflicting impacts of workout nutrition timing following a training session and that it’s inconclusive as to whether an anabolic window actually exists (Aragon & Schoenfeld, p. 11, 2013). Just like your pre-workout meal, make sure that you are focusing on fitting in your meals in a way that is sustainable and maintainable for your lifestyle!
- 20% of your daily protein intake
- 25% of your daily carb intake
- 15-20% of your daily fat intake
Gym Food Tips
- Workout right after work? Pack your snack for before and/or after you hit the gym!
- Early morning workout? Pre-pack some smoothie packs in the freezer to mix with your protein supplement for an easy on-the-go breakfast.
- Keep emergency protein bars in your gym bag or an extra scoop of protein in a shaker for those days where you are just in a rush. This will help you stay on track and keep you fueled for your activity, no matter what time you eat!
Aragon, A. A., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2013). Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10, 5. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-10-5