Although breakfast is the most important meal of the day, pre-and post-workout foods can be just as imperative for those who regularly spend time in the gym. It’s important to ensure you are fueling your body with beneficial foods both before and after your workouts.
Your body naturally burns calories when working out. Nevertheless, when making a habit of working out on an empty stomach, you risk losing muscle mass that you’ve worked so hard for. Why does this happen? Because when you’re hungry, the body automatically goes into survival mode and takes what it needs from muscle first instead of other organs in the body.
A pre-workout meal should include foods that are high in carbohydrates and easy to digest. What to eat and how soon to eat before exercising can only be determined by you from prior experience. Some general guidelines from Sports Medicine Expert for eating and drinking before a work out include:
Avoid consuming foods that are harder to digest within a few hours of working out. Foods high in fiber and fatty foods tend to stay with us longer, and may not feel pleasant when exercising.
After a mild to intense workout, your muscles may feel especially tight. Why is this? This feeling of tightness occurs because they have expanded their existing energy supply, which is why our muscles need carbohydrates and protein to help replenish and rebuild.
Carbohydrates and protein-enriched foods are most commonly recommended for your post-workout muscle recovery. Make these foods available within 30 minutes to an hour after your workout for best results.