Not only is what you eat important, but when you eat it is crucial—especially as an athlete. Eating the correct foods at the appropriate time before, during and after a workout will not only properly nourish and fuel you—you may also see gains in your performance. Fueling for strength training is slightly different than fueling for cardio-based workouts. Here are a few tips to follow in order to get the most out of your workout.
What to Eat 1 to 2 Hours Pre-Workout
To keep you from feeling hungry before a workout, without stomach discomfort, choose a mini-meal or snack that combines healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and protein. Depending on your personal goals and needs, the amount of food required is unique to you. An example of such meal could be an amaranth porridge sprinkled with almond milk, nuts and seeds.
What to Do 30 Minutes Pre-Workout
Your focus should be on simple carbohydrates right before your workout. Select foods that provide quick energy and are easily digested. Fruit is a perfect example of this, as a light, easily digestible and quick on-the-go option to consume while on the way to the gym. For easy pre-workout fuel try filling a date with coconut oil for a delicious and efficient pre-workout snack! Or for an energy boost on the go, try Vega Sport® Premium Energizer.
During Your Workout
During your strength-training routine, the essential components to focus on are quick energy and electrolytes. If you are training less than an hour, you can stick to electrolytes as your focus. If your workouts are longer than 45 minutes to an hour, you may want to consume easily digestible carbohydrates. Most athletes find it easier to drink than to eat during a workout, so seek out carbohydrates in a gel or drink format. You can blend up fruit and dates to make a gel, or make a fresh fruit juice for a steady burst of energy.
No matter the length of your workout, electrolytes are essential. As you sweat you lose minerals sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride with water. When choosing an electrolyte replacement look for one without artificial colors, flavors or fillers, such as Vega Sport® Hydrator.
One of the biggest mistakes I see in action at the gym is people rushing to have their post-workout protein drink, thinking that it is the one-and-only essential macronutrient needed in order to build muscle. This is simply a myth.
Post-workout, your focus is to replenish lost glycogen stores in order for protein synthesis to occur. Simply put, you must consume simple carbohydrates first, then protein later, in order for muscle building and strengthening to occur. Consuming a post-workout carbohydrate based drink is highly recommended1 due to the ease of digestibility and assimilation—less work on your body! To replenish your muscle glycogen fastest, consume a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein.1 Vega Sport® Recovery takes the guessing out of your post-workout meal, in a delicious drink that provides recovery support.
1 to 3 Hours Post-Workout
A high protein meal is needed several hours post-workout—not directly after—as many assume. Some plant-based protein sources include clean plant-based protein powder, such as quinoa, beans, lentils nuts and seeds. If you are having a post-workout meal, include dark leafy greens for added vitamin and antioxidant support.
Fueling your body on a clean, plant-based diet is the key to forming strong muscles and supporting long-term health. Follow these essential tips while working out, to see and feel the difference in your workout—and in achieving results!