The timing, type and amount of food eaten before workouts and events can drastically affect the quality of a training session and the outcome of the event. Carbohydrates are the primary energy source used by the nervous and muscular systems and is essential for peak performance. A high carbohydrate pre-workout snack with protein eaten can provide the energy to fuel the activity while allowing enough time for adequate digestion.
The recovery process is also influenced by when and what you eat before and after activity. By eating the ideal blend of carbohydrate and protein immediately before and after exercise, you reduce muscle damage, stimulate muscle growth, and ensure your body is prepared for the next workout or event. Proper repair and building of tissues after each training bout can prevent chronic fatigue, injury and over-training.
Pre-workout Snack Guidelines
- Items with at least 50 percent carbs and approximately 20 percent protein and 20 percent fat are ideal
- Pre-workout snacks should be consumed 10 to 40 minutes before activity to ensure your body is ready and the stomach is relatively empty. This is especially important for early morning workouts
- A small banana with half a tablespoon of peanut butter is my favorite and the ultimate quick pre workout snack
There is a “metabolic window” that lasts for approximately 60 to 90 minutes after intense training when the body is highly receptive to nutrient uptake. During this timeframe, you have the best chance of reducing muscle damage, maximizing exercise induced strength and muscle size by eating the appropriate amounts of carbohydrate and protein immediately after training. Once this window is closed, there’s no making up for the potential gains in size even if you eat perfectly the rest of the day.
A fast-acting liquid formula allows nutrients to be delivered to muscles to take advantage of this opportunity- Aminos or shakes for example.
By timing your extra snacks around your workout,
you can also satisfy your hunger and get leaner.
- The post-workout formula should be the same as the pre- (see above).
- Choose snacks based on convenience, preference and venue.