Eating right to maximize your workout

What should I be eating pre and post workout to feel good during my workout and maximize my performance? Sometimes the answer depends more on the athlete and specific activity, but there are some common truths that apply for pre- and post- workout nutrition. It's best not to eat immediately before a workout because while your muscles are working, your stomach is trying to simultaneously digest the food. These competing demands are a challenge for optimal performance. Ideally, you should fuel your body about 1–3 hours pre workout. Pre-workout snacks should include some protein as well as carbohydrates. Carbohydrate fuel muscle function while protein is what rebuilds and repairs muscles.

Here are some suggestions for pre-workout fuel:

  • A peanut butter and banana or peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Greek yogurt with berries
  • Oatmeal with low fat milk and fruit
  • Apple and peanut or almond butter
  • Handful of nuts and raisins (two parts raisins, one part nuts)

It is important to eat a combination of carbohydrates and protein as soon as possible after your workout. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests fueling within 15 to 20 minutes post training with a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrate and protein for optimal muscle repair and recovery, eating a regular mixed meal 3 to 4 hours after. This gives your muscles the ability to replenish the glycogen and rebuild and repair with the available protein and amino acids.

Post-workout meals include:

  • Post-workout smoothie made with low-fat milk and fruit
  • Low fat chocolate milk
  • Turkey on a whole grain wrap with veggies
  • Yogurt with berries

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