At our weight loss camps, we know there is more to losing weight, getting fit and staying healthy than just exercising and eating nutritious foods. It’s making sure that you are getting the proper foods before and after a work out to make sure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to make sure that you have a good workout.
Pre-Workout Meals and Snacks
Making sure you are properly fueled before working out is crucial to having a successful workout in which you can push yourself to a good level of intensity and have enough energy to get through without feeling overly fatigued.
The timing of a pre-workout can vary from person to person so it might take time to find out what works best for you specifically. A good general rule of thumb is to have a snack about 10-15 minutes prior to any workout. If you’re having a full meal, you’ll want to give yourself 45 minutes to an hour to digest before starting to exercise.
For a pre-workout snack you’re going to want to make sure you have some simple carbohydrates that will break down quickly so you have an immediate source of energy to utilize. This can be anything from a piece of fruit to a small granola bar- something mostly carbohydrates with a small amount of protein.
For a pre-workout meal, make sure you have some complex carbohydrates and a serving of protein in your meal. If you consume your meal about an hour before working out, it will provide your stomach enough time to break down the food and have that energy available to you while working out.
Post-Workout Meals and Snacks
The body’s ability to recover properly after a workout depends significantly on getting appropriate nutrition it needs. During your workout, you are putting a lot of tiny tears in your muscles and it is extremely important to refuel properly afterwards so that those muscles can recover and heal as quickly as possible.
It’s important to make sure that you have your post-workout meal or snack with carbohydrates and protein 15-30 minutes after working out. This is the best way to optimize nutrient absorption. If you’re worried about caloric intake, a great way to stay on track would be to make your post-workout meal one of your main meals of the day. For a post-workout snack a banana with chocolate milk, or a peanut butter sandwich are great options. You put the hard work in during the workout, make sure to reap all of the benefits from it!
Planning and sticking with your healthy snacks can be even harder than meals sometimes. You can get caught in the middle of an office party, have an after school snack with the kids, or get sucked into that before bed binge. Before you know it, your 100-200 calorie snack has turned into an extra meal…or two!
Knowing the times that you’re most likely to fall prey to over snacking means you can now come up with a plan to avoid it in the future. Whatever your favorite time to snack is, make sure you allot yourself enough calories to have your snack and feel satisfied. Also be sure to include at least two food groups in order for your body to feel full.
If you’re a person who likes to snack throughout the entire day, five to six small meals as opposed to three larger ones might be a better way to stay within your caloric range without feeling deprived. If there is only one time where you really get caught over eating, make sure you have a plan where you have a small snack that you enjoy every day during that time. Just knowing that you will be able to have something that you enjoy again the next day will help to avoid the need to binge on it. Need some ideas? Take a look at a few of our recipes or buy our cookbook Meal Simple.