Today we have another guest blog post from Britney Kennedy of OnPoint Nutrition. Britney has been helping people understand how timing your meals before and after your workouts is essential to weight loss. If your under the assumption that you need to not eat after your workout to lose weight then you need to read on!
Meal/Snack Timing Pre & Post Workout:
Recent research suggests that meal and snack timing is equally as important as the quality of those foods. (1) When physical activity is added to our daily routine, timing is of even greater importance. During activity, the body relies on glycogen (sugar the body has stored in our muscles) from the foods that we eat, and glucose in our blood stream to supply energy to our muscles. Our muscles also require larger amounts of oxygen during activity. Oxygen is supplied via our blood stream, powered by an increased hear rate. Because the body is pumping more blood to active muscles to sustain higher activity levels, it diverts some blood flow from the systems and functions that take place in the background (autonomic), such as digestion. Knowing all of this, the key question is: “When and what should I eat before and after my workout?”
Early morning exerciser? No problem!
If you work out in the morning, eating a small snack before activity is best. If you prefer to workout mid-day or in the evening, it may be best to consume a whole meal pre workout. Eating 1-3 hours before activity allows adequate time for digestion, and fuels the body for upcoming exertion. Because the body pumps more blood to the muscles during activity, digestion is not a prioritized internal function. Movement, absorption and secretion of foods in the stomach and intestines can all be interrupted.
What’s the point of a pre workout meal?
The primary purpose of the pre workout meal or snack is to reduce muscle glycogen depletion and reduce muscle protein breakdown. The body needs glucose and protein to support muscular contraction. Common glucose-containing foods are grains, starchy vegetables, beans and legumes, and fruit. Fruit contains two sugar forms: fructose and glucose. If your pre workout foods are snacks, easy options include fruit, a slice of toast, ½ of a bagel, or instant oatmeal.
Pairing this glucose-containing item with a protein option gives the body the perfect combination of energy sources. Easy protein options include peanut butter, hard boiled eggs, low sodium lunch meat, nuts, and Greek yogurt (which is also a source of glucose).
If your workout closely aligns with a meal, the same construction applies: include a source of glucose and protein. Starchy vegetables and any legume variety are great non-grain options to add to any meal. Starchy vegetables include sweet and white potatoes, squash, corn, and pumpkin. If you prefer a grain option, include rice or pasta.
What’s the point of a post workout meal?
Post workout, eat your snack 20-30 minutes after finishing, followed by a balanced meal no more than three hours later. Consuming carbohydrates (glucose containing foods) 20 to 30 minutes after a workout restores your muscles’ energy stores, while protein assists in recovery and muscle repair. Quick post workout snacks include chocolate milk, protein shakes or bars containing 10-15g of protein and no more than 20g carbohydrates, fruit and Greek yogurt, or an apple with peanut butter.
Your later meal should feature protein and carbohydrates as well. Examples of a good, post-workout meal are chicken breast with brown rice and greens, or tilapia with a sweet potato and broccoli. Meatless post workout meals may include a large salad with nuts, seeds and quinoa.
About OnPoint Nutrition
OnPoint Nutrition is a Philadelphia weight loss company committed to helping people lose weight through one-on-one virtual nutrition counseling. Our philosophy is based upon three core principles: nutrition education, active coaching, and long-term success. Our company is positioned as a “nutritionist-in-your-pocket” that delivers nutrition coaching virtually at a fraction of a cost of clinical or medical service. We are proud to offer a client centered approach to nutrition and lifestyle improvements.
3. Image courtesy of stockimages at freedigitalphotos.net