Lately I have been receiving numerous questions on what I eat throughout the day, before, and after a workout. So I will address what I feel as the 2 most important meals of the day. The preworkout and postworkout meals. I try to stick to this plan each and everyday that I hit the gym to try and maximize my workouts.
Before working out you should stick to whole, slowly digesting, low carbohydrate foods. Your workouts can often create a long gap between meals, as you will likely want to wait about an hour after eating before working out. Then by the time you travel to and from the gym and complete your workout an extended space between meals may have been created.
This is why whole solid foods are important, by consuming whole foods your rate of digestion will be slower and you shouldn't feel starved in the middle of your workout.
Almost as important is to eat low carbohydrate foods, that is if you are at all concerned about fat burning.
If you consume a great deal of carbohydrates before your workout you make it awfully hard for your body to burn fat. This is because there is such an abundance of sugar for your body to use it doesn't need to use its reserve fuel, fat!
By consuming low carbohydrate foods and then engaging in an intense weight training session you will very likely deplete your glucose (sugar) stores in your muscles and liver and force your body to use body fat instead. You can further increase your fat burning effects by completing at least 20-30 min of low intensity (about 60-65% max heart rate) aerobic activity immediately after your workout.
Now after your workout is a completely different story. After you have finished your workout your body is very depleted and looking for nutrients to use to begin the repair process that allows us to heal and get stronger for our next workout. During that first 90 min after our workout our insulin sensitivity is greatly increased and declines slowly.
This is because our weight-training workout has surprised our body and used a great deal of its immediate fuel and is eager to replace it. So during this time, it is a good idea to eat lots of carbohydrates, of any sort.
During this time the faster digesting the sugar is the better, for instance I like to use Cell-Tech Hardcore and Methoxy-Pro.
Post Workout Meals
After your workouts you can consume up to 30% of your total daily caloric intake and feel pretty comfortable that your body won't store any fat, although a couple of things to keep in mind for your post workout meal are:
- Make sure and eat, even if you don't feel like it.
- Consume lot's of water with your meal and afterwards.
- Consume some protein with your meal as well, the carbs and water will help to shuttle the protein into the cell to begin repairing your muscles.(this will cause a small insulin spike in your system).
- Try to avoid eating fat with this meal as it slows your digestion rate and blunts your insulin spike-this will be the only time I tell you to spike your insulin quickly. Note: when I am dieting for a show I tend to lower my carbs in my post workout meal as the show nears. This is because there is no way of knowing where each individuals "tolerance" limit is, and when you will have consumed "excess" carbs and start to store body fat, even with your post workout heightened insulin sensitivity.
I'm sure most of you have heard about the post workout meal being the most important and that you should eat immediately after a workout. So this information should be old news but if you aren't following this simple rule, then you could be making better gains. You work hard so why not reap all of the benefits?