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.