Are you showing up for your workout sessions on an empty stomach? Or leaving your training session feeling starving and weak? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions or both, you’ll love this quick lesson in workout nutrition.
Pre-Workout Nutrition– Your body needs fuel in the form of food to function. When you first start a new workout routine along with a healthy diet, the general tendency is to skimp on calories before and after a workout. Most people think that this is necessary to lose weight- this couldn’t be further from the truth. I notice it with some of my clients who show up feeling tired before their training sessions. Either they haven’t eaten in a few hours or they ate the wrong things before the session. I have also seen dizziness, nausea, headaches and overall fatigue which are all symptoms of hunger and/or improper nutritional preparation before their sessions. Nine out of ten times when I ask a client when the last time they ate was, the answer is 2 hours ago or more. This is catastrophic to your weight loss goals.
So how can you avoid this feeling and what pre-workout rules should you follow?
What you must realize is that the energy you get from the foods you eat is ultimately what is going to decide how your workout goes. If your metabolism is already slowing down from hours of not eating, it is going to be difficult to rev it back up and start burning calories, that your body is now clinging onto for dear life, in your workout. You are exercising to burn calories, right? Make it a habit to eat a high carbohydrate healthy snack prior to your training session. This could include an apple, Lara Bar, banana or carrots-NOT a protein bar, save his for post-workout. You may be saying to yourself that these snacks are sugary, but you need carbohydrates to get through your workouts efficiently. (If you or your personal trainer are pushing hard enough, you will burn off the sugar, so don’t worry.)
Post-Workout Nutrition– Post workout nutrition is for muscle recovery and development. Immediately following a run, for example, you want to replace electrolytes lost through sweat during your run by drinking an electrolyte beverage. Think about it, have you ever seen an athlete NOT with a water bottle? And guess what, that’s not just plain old water in there. There are many electrolyte beverages out there like Gatorade to try. After a workout (think legs, upper body, abs day) you want to support the workout you just did by having a protein shake or protein bar immediately following the workout to aid in muscle growth and recovery. (when i say growth, I don’t mean bulk- I mean muscle breaking through and saying goodbye to cellulite!) You might also want to consider having a snack. The body is in fat burning mode immediately following a workout so it’s okay to consume a few extra HEALTHY calories at this time.
So no more starving yourself before and after sessions, okay? Do we have a deal? Your body will thank you for it in the long run and I know you will thank me when you start to see a major breakthrough in your training results. If you have any questions as far as healthy snacks, brands and recommendations go, please don’t hesitate to ask!