PRE- & POST WORKOUT NUTRITION
Updated: Feb 18
A lot of people ask me what they should eat before and after their yoga or strength training workout. It’s an important part of an effective fitness routine to maximize both endurance during your workout and muscle growth following training for sure!
QUICK & DIRTY FACTS:
AN EASY RULE OF THUMB: about half of your daily diet should be carbohydrates for optimum energy, and the other half split between 25% protein and 25% grains. See below for the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI).
WATER. Hydration should start as soon as you wake up. For me, the ‘rule of 10’ works best: when I first wake up I have 10 sips of water, and throughout the day whenever I open my container to drink water again I take at least 10 sips (yes, I count!).
MACRONUTRIENTS : are carbohydrates, proteins & fats. Micronutrients are vitamins & minerals & water (alcohol is also a source of calories but not one of these three groups).
CARBOHYDRATES. They are NECESSARY as a primary fuel source your body stores, in the right ratio to your other macronutrients (proteins & fats), and in QUALITY form. Obviously the carbs consumed in a piece of cake are not the same quality nutrients as the carbs consumed in a plate of vegetables. Complex carbohydrates like vegetables and whole grains take more time to digest and are full of nutrients and fiber.
CARB RDI: for athletes: 5 -10g per kg of body weight per day (for example: 130 lbs = 59 kg body weight. Carb intake should be between 295-590g per day). For non-athletes, the guideline suggests as little as 3 and as much as 12 g per kg of weight depending on training intensity (59 kg x 3 = 177g carbohydrates minimum daily).
PROTEIN. Sources such as meat, plant-based protein, eggs, nuts, peas, soy, peanut butter, beans, poultry, fish. Go for 1 oz recommended serving size, 4-5x a day. When it comes to protein, MORE than the recommended daily intake is NOT better because excess protein is converted to fat. Our bodies cannot store excess protein as protein.
PROTEIN RDI: 0.8g per kg of body weight - 2.0g per kg dependent on training (2.0 is max for anyone). For example, 130 lbs = 59 kg x .8 = 47.2g of protein minimum recommendation; 118g maximum recommended daily intake. Diets too high in protein can also cause dehydration, kidney and heart distress.
FATS. Healthy fats, such as egg yolks or avocados, are essential for absorption of the other nutrients we eat.
THE 3 WAYS OUR BODY CONVERTS FOOD TO ENERGY:
1st: is for very fast, short bursts of energy lasting 5-10 seconds (dunking a ball, hitting a baseball, a short sprint).
2nd: for demands of 1-2 minutes long, like swimming for 2 minutes, a minute of burpees, or running 500m (that’s about the length of a Target store, for anyone who doesn’t know meters). This energy system uses ONLY carbohydrates for fuel!
3rd: the longest duration (long distance runs or hikes, dancing your feet off). This energy demand uses all three macronutrients, carbs, proteins and fats, as fuel. After one hour of exercise the cabohydrate-based fuel source drops; after two hours it is depleted and the other macronutrients become the energy source.
The most benefit is a carbohydrate:protein ratio of 3:1, within two hours after intense exercise (earlier is better). 6-20g of high quality protein is advised, so the carbohydrate: protein intake should be 18-60g carbs and 6-20g protein. Essential amino acids are key. They are proteins the body cannot make in the amount we need, so they must be consumed to fulfill our bodies' requirements (some examples of highly digestible, quality foods are meat, eggs, quinoa, buckwheat, tofu, soy, rice & beans or peas and rice / noodles eaten together, or yes, even chocolate milk!).
Still have questions? Ask me -