On the internet I see posts and tags about how weight loss is all about nutrition, then the next week “they” (whoever THEY are) claim it is all in what type of workout you do. Now I see more and more math equations on the influence between food and workout (70/30, 80/20, 90/10, etc)
Here’s the secret: you need BOTH nutrition and exercise to feel and look your best self. How much of both depends on how often you move, how often you eat, your individual body needs, etc. so there is no one yes or no answer because why?
There is no one size fits all.
That being said, there are guidelines you can follow on your quest to your healthiest self. In these guidelines I have also noted things you should look out for and be weary of as explained in tip number 4.
Tip 1: Your body needs fuel in order to burn at it’s peak performance.
What the flip does that mean?! It means you need food in order to workout. Timing on this is important as you don’t want to eat too soon before a workout or too late. Recommended time difference as Precision Nutritions Dr. John Berardi suggests is about 1-2 hours before a meal. Be sure to eat a meal with clean fats and/or carbs to properly fuel your body and muscles like a banana or toast with peanut butter.
Examples of pre workout meals: peanut butter on toast, sweet potatoes and eggs, hard boiled eggs with avocado, chicken bowl (rice, chicken, peppers).
Tip 2: Your body needs energy after your workout in order to rebuild the broken down muscle tissues.
This one is similar to tip 1. You need to replenish your body of the nutrients it used up during your workout.
If you do not eat and you allow your energy expenditure to exceed your energy intake for too long you can encounter injury, fatigue, weight gain, or even increased stress as the hormone cortisol stays at an elevated level after your workout.
The time frame in general standards is no longer than 1-2 hours after you train. Your meal needs to have protein with some carbs. Proteins build your muscles up and carbs replenish your energy stores.
Examples of post workout meals: protein shake, greek yogurt with berries, cottage cheese with toast, lean chicken or turkey with some greens.
Tip 3: What you eat matters.
This goes for all daily living activities so working out is no different. If you put junk in your body, you will get junk out of your body.
Cheat sheet! (because let’s be honest, we don’t live in a perfect world of eating 1 1/2 hours before a workout everyday):
- longer period between eating and working out: meal with HIGH FAT ( avocado, bacon, MCT oil, nuts) as it digests slower.
- Short period between eating and working out: go with a SIMPLE CARB (whole grain bread, sweet potato, oats) for a faster digestion.
Tip 4: pre workout energy
Let’s just call it what it is; supplements are a HUGE industry these days. I feel like every couple of years another supplement company pops up claiming to be the best out there.
The truth is there is little regulation on a lot of supplement products and many of them are very bad for your body (remember the diet pill that made your heart race and pupils contract?) You need to be cautious when buying off the counter. Even though the salesman sounds like he knows what he is talking about, do your research first.
For me personally, I only use two different types of pre-workout, Coffee and Spark. If I don’t have one available I’ll use the other. Spark comes from the company Advocare, and it’s the one and only company I trust wholeheartedly. It comes well researched, well managed, and highly respected by professional athletes, coaches, and olympians all over. I liked them so much I became a member, it’s the only company I affiliate with. To learn more on Advocare you can CLICK HERE.
That’s not to say there are not other good products out there, this is just the one I trust and recommend. My only request is for you to research what you are putting into your body beforehand.
Tip 5: Hydration
keeping your body hydrated is crucial for survival. No really, without water for about 2-3 days you will die. Working out makes you sweat (if you are not sweating during a workout, you’re not working hard enough) sweat comes from water in your body. Which means you need to replenish the water you sweat out in order to maintain hydration. One way you can tell if you are hydrated is from your urine, the clearer it is the more you’re hydrated.
Fun fact: When you first start feeling the thirsty feeling you are already 1-2% down from your proper hydration level. AKA you’re already dehydrated. You should drink water before your workout, during your workout (especially if it’s a high intensity workout) and after. If your workout is strenuous and water just isn’t cutting it I would add in a slice of lemon and some pink Himalayan sea salt to replenish lost electrolytes.
If you have any other questions regarding pre and post workout tips and obstacles you are having please feel free to comment below and I will answer your question as quickly as I can.