Often confused about what to eat and what to eat before are after your workout session? Sometimes you eat and sometimes you skip these pre & post-workout meals. But do you know the significance of them? Why is it necessary to have pre & post-workout meals?
If you have all these questions, you have landed on the correct page. I will decode these things in an elaborate manner so that you can pick your meals wisely. But let’s start with why you need pre & post-workout meals.
Why Are Pre & Post Workout Meals Necessary?
Meals are fuel to run your body. Pre & post-workout meals provide energy, help your body recover from a workout, prevent fatigue and boost energy in your body. In the long run, your body becomes stronger and ready for more intense workouts.
Let’s understand their roles one by one.
Reason To Take Pre-Workout Meals:
- Energy: Consuming a pre-workout meal provides your body with the necessary fuel (carbohydrates) to power through your workout. Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for your muscles.
- Blood Sugar Regulation: A balanced pre-workout meal helps regulate your blood sugar levels, ensuring that they remain stable throughout your workout. This helps sustain energy levels and prevents a sudden drop in performance.
- Muscle Preservation: Including protein in your pre-workout meal can help preserve muscle mass during exercise. It provides amino acids that act as the building blocks for muscle repair and growth.
- Enhanced Performance: When your body is adequately fueled before a workout, you can perform at a higher intensity, maintain focus, and push through challenging workouts more effectively.
Reason To Take Post-Workout Meals:
- Muscle Recovery and Repair: After a workout, your muscles undergo stress and small micro-tears. Consuming a post-workout meal that includes protein helps kickstart the muscle repair process and aids in recovery.
- Muscle Protein Synthesis: Protein-rich meals after exercise stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which is the process of building new muscle proteins. This helps repair damaged muscle fibers and promotes muscle growth.
- Glycogen Replenishment: During intense workouts, your body depletes its glycogen stores (stored form of carbohydrates). Consuming carbohydrates after exercise helps replenish glycogen levels, restoring your energy stores for future workouts.
- Reduced Muscle Soreness: Proper post-workout nutrition can help reduce muscle soreness and speed up recovery, allowing you to bounce back faster and perform better in subsequent workouts.
What Should You Eat Pre & Post Workout?
Whole grain toast with almond/peanut butter & banana: This combination provides a good balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein. The carbohydrates from the toast and banana will provide energy, while the almond/peanut butter adds healthy fats and protein for sustained energy and muscle repair.
Greek yogurt with berries and a handful of nuts: Greek yogurt is rich in protein, which can help prevent muscle breakdown during exercise. The berries add antioxidants and carbohydrates, while the nuts provide healthy fats and additional protein.
Oatmeal with protein powder and sliced fruits: Oatmeal is a great source of complex carbohydrates, which are slowly digested and provide sustained energy. Adding a scoop of protein powder enhances the protein content, and the sliced fruits add natural sweetness and additional vitamins.
Chana Chaat/ Chickpea Salad: Black chana or chickpea chaat/salad is one of the best options for pre-workout meals. In addition to being high in protein and antioxidants, chana chaat is so delicious and takes no time to prepare.
Vegetable Upma: You can upcycle your breakfast as pre-workout meals only if you have cooked upma. Yes, vegetable Upma is a great pre-workout meal. Made with semolina, veggies & peanut/ cashew nuts, a great combination of protein, complex carb and healthy fats.
Boiled Eggs & Toast: If you don’t have time to prepare meals you can simply eat boiled eggs with whole-grain toast.
Low-fat Cheese Toast: if you are vegetarian, you can eat low-fat cheese toast. Or Cottage cheese aka paneer sandwich.
Protein Bar: If you don’t want to do anything at all. You can eat protein bars as well.
Grilled chicken breast with quinoa and roasted vegetables: Grilled chicken breast is a lean source of protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth. Quinoa is a high-protein grain that also provides carbohydrates, and roasted vegetables add fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Veggie omelet with whole grain toast: An omelet made with egg whites or whole eggs and loaded with vegetables is a protein-rich option after a workout. Pair it with whole-grain toast for additional carbohydrates and fiber.
Fruit Smoothies with nuts: Make a smoothie bowl for yourself with berries or banana and yogurt. Top it off with some nuts, coconut flakes and low-fat choco chips. If you are a sweet tooth and want to make it extra sweet add some drops of organic honey.
Baked Sweet Potato Salad: One of the most fulfilling meals for your after exercise. Mix some baked potato with chaat masala and mint & coriander chutney. You can pair it with sour yogurt dip as well. Top it off with some roasted peanuts.
When To Have Pre & Post Workout Meals?
The timing is everything. The timing of your pre-and post-workout meals is important. Ideally, you should eat a pre-workout meal 1-2 hours before exercise to allow for digestion, and a post-workout meal within 1-2 hours after exercise to replenish your energy stores and support muscle recovery. It’s also essential to listen to your body and adjust your meals based on your specific dietary needs and fitness goals.
By having planned and balanced meals before and after workouts you improve your performance and endurance. You can prevent fatigue, and boost your energy levels. With the right choice of food you help your body recover faster from workout exhaustion and pain.
The portion of both pre and post workout meals depends on your hunger and nutritional needs. Some people feel full after eating one apple while others don’t feel full after eating two bowls of rice. So it completely depends on your body and needs. For best results listen to your body and do not starve yourself.
A curious girl filled with emotions & passion, Aparna holds a master’s degree in computer application, but words & stories fascinate her more than codes. She is a keen learner & a great admirer of art & culture. Sketching is her get away from daily hustle & bustle.