Finding Joy in Movement

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Pre vs. Post workout food

I’ve noticed (both in others and myself), that preparing for a post workout recovery snack is often something that gets ignored. We also often wait until too close to a workout to eat, then at the last minute, stuff something down so we aren’t working out on an empty stomach. Both of these habits can be detrimental to the goals of a workout. Pre-workout, you should try to get your meal in somewhere between 1-2 hours beforehand (Some people eat closer to the event – as well as during – for marathons and other long endurance events, though that’s a whole different topic). There all all kinds of drinks that are available that your body does well at digesting before and during a workout, but eating heavy meals beforehand can drag your system down and make your workout less effective, so the 1-2 hour rule I’ve found to be helpful. Post workout, your body is depleted of glycogen, and is calling out for food. Your body is also breaking down muscle tissue during any sort of strength training, and when you don’t give it the tools to rebuild, you aren’t letting your body get the benefits of your workout. Eating both carbohydrates and proteins is important (there is debate about the ratio here, but I tend to try for a 3:1 ratio carb to protein), and 15-30 minutes post workout seems to be the sweet spot for your body’s ability to recover efficiently. Eating post workout also helps to keep your body’s metabolism geared up for longer and can prevent overeating later in the day. People dieting sometimes think that eating less should extend to pre and post-workout meals, but actually, the opposite is often true. Taking the time to plan for your nutritional needs around a workout can make a huge difference is how effective your workouts are.