How to Eat Around Your Workout to Maximize Gains?
In the world of fitness and bodybuilding, many people focus on the actual workouts - the movements, the intensity, the frequency. Yet, how you fuel your body plays an equally pivotal role. Proper nutrition is the cornerstone of fitness success and should never be underestimated or overlooked. Today, we delve into the art of eating around your workout to maximize your gains without excessive fat gain.
1. Pre-Workout Nutrition: Fueling the Machine
The first step to mastering workout nutrition is understanding the importance of your pre-workout meal. Consuming the proper nutrients can set you up for success, providing you with a stable energy source throughout your training.
Your pre-workout meal should be consumed about 2 hours before your training session to allow for adequate digestion. This meal should primarily consist of low-glycemic, starchy carbohydrates and a serving of fruit. Eating at least two servings of fruit daily is recommended, with at least one of those servings coming from your pre-workout meal. Choose foods that sit well with your stomach to avoid discomfort during your training session.
Here's a quick guide:
- Approximately 1g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight from low glycemic carb sources and a serving of fruit.
- About 0.5g of protein per kg of body weight from a high-quality protein source (or combination of sources).
- Fat intake can range from 0-10g, depending on your total caloric intake and the length of time before training.
- Stay properly hydrated by consuming enough water without causing frequent interruptions from urination.
2. Intra-Workout Nutrition: Sustaining Your Performance
The role of intra-workout nutrition is to keep your energy levels consistent throughout your workout. However, this is less important if you've had a high-quality pre-workout meal.
If you choose to consume something during your workout, start approximately 30 minutes into your workout with the following:
- About 0.5g of liquid carbohydrates per minute from sources such as Maltodextrin or Vitargo.
- Optionally, you can add 10-20g of whey protein isolate or essential amino acids (EAA's).
- Also, consider creatine supplementation, with an intake of about 0.01 grams per kg of body weight (which totals about 5-10 grams depending on your body weight).
3. Post-Workout Nutrition: The Recovery Phase
Post-workout nutrition is crucial for muscle recovery and growth. A high-quality post-workout meal can expedite glycogen resynthesis and kick-start the recovery process.
If you've been unable to consume an intra-workout drink or your pre-workout meal has been lacking, a recovery drink becomes all the more critical. Start your recovery process about 30 minutes into your post-workout period with the following:
- Approximately 0.5g of liquid carbohydrates per minute from a source that doesn't upset your stomach, such as Maltodextrin or Vitargo.
- Include 20-60g of whey protein isolate in your recovery drink.
A full post-workout meal should then be consumed 1-2 hours after your workout, consisting of:
- Roughly 0.5g of protein per kg of body weight.
- About 1-1.5g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight from high-glycemic sources, especially if you follow a high-frequency or full-body training regimen.
- Fat intake can range from 0-20g, again based on your total caloric intake.
- Ensure that your pre and post-workout meals are spaced apart by no more than 4-5 hours.
Eating around your workout is a strategic way to optimize your performance and muscle gains without incurring excessive fat gain. It's all about fueling your body correctly before training, sustaining your energy during the workout, and promoting recovery afterward. You can maximize your gains and pave the way to your fitness success with the right nutrition approach.