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PM Power: How And What To Eat For A Productive Evening Workout

If you train after work, timing your meals and carbs can be confusing. Find out what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat if you're planning an evening workout!

Most people have heard that it's best to start the day with their highest-calorie meal. Your calories and carbs should then taper down as the day progresses. But what if you train after your work day? Should you re-think your meal plan?

Whether you're trying to lose fat or build muscle, proper meal timing is just as important as what you eat. Get it wrong, and you may be disappointed in your results.

If you're an evening gym goer and like to eat multiple meals per day, read on. It'll help you decide what and when to eat to maximize your energy and get better results.

Breakfast ///

Because you aren't working out until the evening, you don't have to indulge in a giant breakfast. If you're on a plan that limits your carb intake, then your breakfast should be mostly fat and protein based. Vegetables, berries, or both can provide your carbs.

If you're not especially worried about your carb intake, then you can include some complex carbs in your breakfast. You want your carb intake to be balanced throughout the day.

Mid-Morning ///

Unless you're on a high-calorie plan, you should save your carbs for later in the day. Grab a light snack which consists of lean protein and a small dose of healthy fat. Add some veggies, if you prefer and make sure to stay hydrated.

Lunch ///

Your lunch meal will depend on your goal. For fat loss seekers, your meal should be based on healthy fat and lean protein. Add at least a cup of vegetables for some low-calorie carbs.

If you're building muscle, add a moderate amount of complex carbs. Even when you're building muscle, you're better off using your carbs nearer your workout. That's when you will use the fuel and when you're most anabolic.

Mid-Afternoon/Pre-Workout ///

This is the time to prepare your body for the workout ahead. You need an energizing meal that sticks with you but won't weigh you down. If you like solid food better than a shake, eat this meal two hours before you train. If you prefer liquid shakes, drink it 30-45 minutes before your workout.

This meal should include lean protein and complex carbs, easy on the fat. You need carbohydrates that release energy slowly so you can sustain your blood glucose as your workout draws upon it.

Post-Workout ///

If you're dieting, the majority of your carbs need to be ingested after your workout. This will ensure that they're being used to restore muscle glycogen levels and aren't being stored as fat. If you're on a building plan, load up. If there's one time that it's okay to overfeed, this is it.

Make sure you eat a fast-acting protein source like whey isolate protein powder. Your carb source should be a mixture of simple and complex carbs so you get a quick glucose spike followed by longer-lasting energy. If you have insulin issues, stick to complex carbs so you can avoid blood sugar crashes.

For this meal, keep your fat intake low. You want insulin levels to drive carbohydrates into the muscles; having fat in your system slows down the process.

Dinner ///

As long as you aren't on a strict fat loss plan, your dinner should also contain some complex carbohydrates. Make sure it's a moderate serving size. These carbs will help make sure your body is fully recovered.

If you are on a strict fat loss diet, then limit your dinner to protein, healthy fats, and some vegetables.

Before Bed ///

Forego carbs before you sleep. It'll help ensure you don't wake up in the middle of the night due to low blood sugar and will help prevent unwanted fat gain. If you eat a meal before bed, it should consist of casein protein powder or a slow-digesting animal meat like steak or salmon.


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About The Author

I’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.

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lamnguyen

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lamnguyen

This is the exact information I've been looking for.

Great article!

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Dec 21, 2012 6:54pm | report
 
mark9691

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mark9691

Good Article as usual...Stay warm in Canada!

Dec 21, 2012 7:02pm | report
 
luIu

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luIu

simple, strict to the point info,
the stuff i can fully understand and apply,
been helpful, thanks :)

Dec 22, 2012 3:42am | report
 
travis132

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travis132

losing the last 10 lbs is a *****, this should help!

Dec 22, 2012 7:49am | report
 
j.j804

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j.j804

...THANK YOU, lots of help.

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Dec 22, 2012 10:31am | report
 
vol8615

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vol8615

Great Read!

Dec 22, 2012 11:57am | report
 
Kataboy

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Kataboy

I usually found problem to get good breakfast.

Dec 22, 2012 1:49pm | report
 
ramyhilal

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ramyhilal

nothin new, another gr8 article from shannon, but i dont knw y the b.f. shuld contain fat since as we all knw u r up from 7 t0 9 hrs sleeping (fasting) so of course u need fast protein so fat will slow the digesting process !!!
plus am pretty sure i read b4 from shannon that we need healthy fat b4 we sleep along with slow protein, healthy fat b4 bed is good 4 hormonal release and brain function (most active part of ur body while sleeping) and slow digestion so u wont wake up in the middle of the night feeling hungry.
pls i need help here.

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Dec 22, 2012 4:05pm | report
 
NeyCarvalho

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NeyCarvalho

Hello buddy, the first things u should take when u wake is a big cup of water (half liter at least) with a juice of fresh lemon, 100mg of chromium, 1gr of vit.C, 5-10grs of bcaa, 5-10grs of glutamine, multi-vit, of course this a basic scheme then wait for 15-20mins to alkalize and then eat your meat n nuts. For pre-bed go ahead with prot. fat. if you eat a meat or salmon u already have fat enough. I hope I have helped

Dec 23, 2012 5:05pm | report
desertbeast

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desertbeast

Great article.. I would like to see a meal plan about morning workouts. Shift change at work so i go about an hour after waking up. Any advice??

Dec 22, 2012 4:21pm | report
 
NeyCarvalho

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NeyCarvalho

Hey buddy, avoid any carb. go on protein plus fat. If ur workout is next ur first meal then u should eat only protein. I hope I have helped.

Dec 23, 2012 5:08pm | report
Olracrey

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Olracrey

Perfect.

Dec 22, 2012 6:03pm | report
 
JaimeMG

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JaimeMG

Great Article!

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Dec 22, 2012 6:36pm | report
 
Shinosamurai

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Shinosamurai

Nice article good information for people like me who are too lazy to get up in the morning before work to workout.

Dec 22, 2012 7:51pm | report
 
dogetta

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dogetta

I work out in the evenings so this will be good for me.

Dec 22, 2012 8:36pm | report
 
parachris

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parachris

This brings to light some things I have been wondering about and struggling with. I need to mod my meals some it seems. I've not been able to dump some fat that should be disappearing more rapidly now that I have totally kicked beer (all alcohol) out of my life. Thanks for the great info, I don't hit the gym until 7ish and don't hit the bed until midnight at earliest.

Dec 22, 2012 9:27pm | report
 
joecushing

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joecushing

I usually have 0 carbs for breakfast. It's the easiest meal to pull this off with. It takes a while for the body to get used to this but it's fine once it does. I eat 6 whole eggs and a few ounces of some kind of meat. Sometimes I have some Greek Yogurt with it. That is my breakfast carb exception. I get the one that is 2% instead of fat free. It has half the carbs. Every brand of yogurt is different so you must read the labels.

Dec 22, 2012 9:48pm | report
 
joecushing

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joecushing

Oh, I also make this meal with berries and eggs. It's called a berry pancake but there is not flour or grain in it. That is another breakfast carb exception but I only do that a few times a year.

Dec 22, 2012 9:50pm | report
rocky143s

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rocky143s

good Article, i need suggestion about if i eat King Fish before bed ?

Dec 22, 2012 11:00pm | report
 
fmonster

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fmonster

by far the best article i ever read.

Dec 23, 2012 12:13am | report
 
cubstang14

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cubstang14

Super helpful, thank you!!

Dec 23, 2012 1:47am | report
 
bryanzak

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bryanzak

This is a great article! I train right after work and have been following my own version-similar to this meal plan...Good to know i'm doin' it right!

Dec 23, 2012 9:20am | report
 
lionofjudah84

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lionofjudah84

great article... I have been looking for this info

Dec 23, 2012 11:47am | report
 
jtortorich

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jtortorich

good stuff

Dec 23, 2012 12:55pm | report
 
ryder7

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ryder7

Great information I was always wondering cause I work out alot in the evening

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Dec 23, 2012 1:34pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 33 Comments

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