Let’s talk about nutrition and training. There is so much out there on social media and other platforms that can make things a little confusing and make us believe exactly what they want us to believe, just to fill their back pockets. So let me break it down for you.
We all know that if you want to lose weight/fat you need to be in a calorie deficit, (less calories in more, calories out). If you want to build muscle you have to put yourself in a calorie surplus, (more calories in, less calories out). You need to give your muscles reason to grow so you also need to be training with a program that will challenge your strength.
So, what macronutrients should you have before and after workouts for best results? Well depending on what you are planning on getting out of the workouts will determine what you will need to have to reach your specific goals.
This can be known as nutrient timing – the windows before and after training to optimise results. Nutrient timing to the full extent is really only important if you are an elite athlete. For example, someone who is training 2+ times a day or for a specific event.
When we look at what macronutrients to have after exercise, we always say carbohydrates and protein. Carbs to replenish glycogen stores and protein is to create that protein synthesis – repair the broken muscles that have just been worked during your session. The window after exercise is 15-60 minutes – this is called the anabolic window and should include 20-30g of protein. High carbohydrate meals might include a fruit smoothie and high protein might be yoghurt with protein and fruit. You want to have something easy to digest so that the body can absorb the needed nutrients faster. The best thing to have post workout is a high protein smoothie or shake. Something that would be less effective would be something super heavy. For example, a big steak or anything that takes quite a while to break down.
If you are active and training once a day, (high intensity workouts, not your daily walk), then nutrient timing before your workout may be more important than after your workout. This is around 60-150 minutes before your workout. You want to have high carbohydrates and protein. Loading up on carbohydrates as they are your most readily available source of energy for the body. You want to eat something that is easy to digest and well balanced. Another factor to consider is when you are going to be training. This might change your nutrient window. As for me, I personally train first thing in the morning, so I don’t eat anything and train on an empty stomach because I know, I train better that way and it works for me. In saying this, some people will find that they need to eat something before they train. If I am training in the afternoon then I always have something to eat 60-150minutes pre workout and it is usually something like a banana and yogurt.
Now let’s break it down depending on your own individual goals:
Fat loss –
You would benefit from training on an empty stomach or less food – first thing in the morning and then replenish your body post workout. Everything is dependent on your insulin levels – so when they are low and you train, you will burn out your energy stores and then you will tap into your fat stores.
Gain muscle/build body mass –
You would benefit from eating pre and post workout. 60-150minutes before with a high carb meal. 15-60mintues post workout a high protein meal/smoothie. That is how you will build muscle. Now ladies – if you are still on the train and think that building muscle will make you big and bulky – you are incorrect. Building muscle helps you burn fat!
So, rule of thumb, carbohydrates and protein are the 2 most important nutrients to have around your training routine and this will depend on your individual circumstances, needs, wants and goals.
If you would like some more information or 1 on 1 coaching with your nutrition, then be sure to reach out and send Fitness360 a message.