CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Your pre and post workout meal are both important parts of building muscle and losing fat. Dr. Laura Christoph, Professor of Nutrition shared some healthy snack ideas.
For an early morning workout, your meal the night before might end up being your “pre-workout meal”. If you plan on going out for a half hour to 45 minutes at low or moderate intensity, you might just need a glass of water to start you out. However, if you wake up hungry if you plan to do some long and/or intense exercise, make sure to top off your glycogen stores with some easily digestible carbohydrate coupled with a bit of protein and fat for some steady energy 1-1.5 hours before training:
Yogurt and apple
Fruit smoothie with milk or protein powder
Banana and peanut butter
Packet of oatmeal with milk and a few walnuts
If you only have a half hour before training, try some coconut water or a banana to give you a bit of energy pre-workout. The protein and fat are a bit slower digesting and might upset your stomach if you don’t give them an hour or so to digest! If you drink sports drinks, this would be the optimal time to have something like Gatorade as well.
If you are working out in the afternoon, a healthy lunch that doesn’t contain any stomach irritants and is high in complex carbs, moderate in protein and low in fat is best if you plan to eat pretty close to your workout. If vegetables bother your stomach pre-workout, try avoiding too many raw veggies and beans, as the high fiber content might keep the blood focused on your stomach right at the time you need it in your muscles!
Sandwich with lean turkey, thick whole grain bread, some lettuce and tomato. Side of carrot sticks and celery, sliced apple and 1 cup low fat yogurt.
Bowl of chicken and vegetable soup with chicken, carrots, celery, onions, chicken stock, with a side of whole grain bread
Sweet potato with steamed broccoli, lean ground turkey, and a sprinkle of cheese
Rice stir fry with mixed veggies a light sauce, and sliced chicken
Salmon with quinoa and steamed greens
Within an hour post workout, you should be replenishing your glycogen stores and repairing your muscles. This means you want to aim for a high glycemic carbohydrate (one that gets to your blood quickly) and some quick absorbing protein.
Banana and nonfat yogurt
Protein shake with 3/4 cup juice and 1 scoop whey or other protein (many “recovery drinks” are designed to have this ratio as well)
2 ounces turkey on thick slice bread
If you are able to eat a full meal post workout, make sure to get in some carb rich food and protein rich food, just as you did at lunch! Also, make sure to add in some colorful fruits and veggies. They are high in antioxidants to aid in recovery. Adding blueberries, cherries, and raspberries to some Greek yogurt for dessert is a great way to incorporate this tip in to the post-workout meal!
Lastly, don’t forget to hydrate! You want to drink 2-3 cups of water in the 2 hours leading up to your workout, sip on a water bottle throughout the workout, and end the workout with an extra cup. If you are a coffee drinker, it is fine to have your usual cup pre-workout, but you certainly can’t count it as part of your hydration plan!