I have clients ask me all the time, “What do I need to eat before I exercise?”. I’m sure you all have begun a work out session starving. This is no bueno folks. Once upon a time, I did not fuel my body with the proper tools for a successful work out, and boy, do I notice the difference. There are 5 key things to remember in Prepping for Fitness:
1. Eat 1 to 2 hours prior to exercise. If you don’t have time for that, eat 10-15 minutes prior to exercise, and shoot for a 50-100 calorie snack. (protein bar, apple, banana, tablespoon of peanut butter)
2. If you do have time, you need some COMPLETE carbs such as: oatmeal, whole grain cereal, whole wheat toast, or even some sweet potato. Saltine crackers are not a complete carbohydrate people.
3. Drink plenty of water before and after exercise. This helps hydrate your muscles and keeps you from getting too sore. During exercise do not chug your water, take small sips.
4. Stay away from energy drinks, energy blocks, etc. THIS IS JUST SUGAR that you are putting into your body that will be depleted in no time at all. Leaving you shaky, lethargic, head achey, and most of all weak. Not the goal!
5. Stretch AFTER you have warmed up. Crazy? I think not. You need to get blood flowing throughout your body + muscles before you go stretching those hamstrings and quads. Warm up on a stationary bike, treadmill, elliptical, whatever your pleasure for 5-10 minutes. THEN stretch it out. Your muscles will respond much happier. Breathe through each stretch and hold for 15-30 seconds. BREATHE. If you don’t believe me, read the article “Safe Stretching Guidelines” published by the American Council on Exercise, December 2013.
A client once came in and told me he had eaten a can of octopus 30 minutes prior to our session. Octopus. The eight tentacled sea creature. Gross. Don’t do that to yourself or your trainer. It doesn’t smell very nice being burped up.
SO, now you know what to do before exercise. What about after? Well, since you asked, I’ll go ahead and tell you.
After Fitness Has Totally Happened: You have 20-60 minutes of a “golden window” I call it. During that duration of time and that time frame only, you need to refuel. Your muscles will accept the carbs and protein you consume and store them as energy, fun!
“Building blocks for recovery” as a lot of body builders say. Carbohydrates + Protein in that golden window are crucial. Focus on this: You need 2 calories of carbohydrates per body pound (based on your IDEAL weight, not current weight dummy). Can’t do the math? If your ideal weight is 150lbs, then you need 300 calories of carbohydrates, and about half as much protein (150 cals.of protein). Your golden window meal is shaping up to be around 450 calories! Helllls yeah! Thats exciting. Now, what to eat???
1. Chicken + Brown Rice (limit your sweet ass sauces guys)
2. Yogurt + Raw Almonds
3. Protein Shake w/ Banana. (add some peanut butter to get that protein if you don’t use protein powders.)
4. Oats + Peanut Butter
5. Fish + Quinoa (Try cooking quinoa in chicken broth or vegetable broth, super yummy flavor!)
This is definitely why you see bodybuilders eating out of tupperware at the gym! Meal planning, prepping, and packaging is a must. The 3 P’s to a successful fitness program. PLANNING+PREPPING+PACKAGING=AWESOME BOD. This can be related to pretty much anything in life. PLAN to be successful by PREPPING your body with a pre work out meal, and PACK your gym bag before heading out the door. See? Give it a try.