Pre and Post Exercise Meals

Guidelines for Pre-Exercise Meals

  • Eat high carbohydrate meals to fuel muscles and prevent depletion of glycogen stores.
  • Choose complex carbohydrates like whole grains and cereals, which will provide sustained energy during long workouts.
  • Avoid high sugar foods like soda and candy prior to exercise.
  • Be careful of high fat foods before work out, these can be difficult to digest and may cause stomach upset.
  • Try to have a large carbohydrate 4 hours prior to exercise and another small meal 1-2 hours before exercise. High fat and high protein meals will take more energy out of your body for digestion.


Guidelines for Post-Exercise Meals:

  • Muscles need to recover after exercise and since your metabolism is elevated this is the best time to refuel.
  • Recovery meals should be eaten within 30-45 minutes of exercise completion, ideally within 20 minutes, to optimally nourish, repair and build muscle.
  • Research shows eating something that is a combination of carbohydrates and protein aid in the recovery of muscles more quickly. Carbohydrates stimulate the release of insulin, a hormone that helps build muscle.  Carbohydrates combined with protein, create an even better muscle-building response and reduces cortisol.
  • Add some vegetables and whole fruits (bananas, apples) to replace minerals lost in sweat.
  • Maintain proper fluid levels: Research shows that drinking more water can maximize your metabolism while dehydration can slow your metabolic rate 2%.


Tips to Improve Exercise Performance:

  • Eat three meals and snacks per day.
  • Maintain a diet of complex carbohydrates and protein.
  • Don’t exercise on an empty stomach.
  • Don’t exercise more than 60 minutes without food or fluids.

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