Nicole's Nutrition Tips - Eating Around Training
WHAT TO EAT AROUND YOUR TRAINING
When talking training and food the internet is full of advice; no carbs, high carbs, high protein, keto, eat an hour within of exercise, protein shakes, BCAA’s and all the other confusing, contradicting messages we’re being told. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or include boring meals like plain chicken + broccoli (if this is exciting for you than I feel sorry for you and your taste buds). You can include foods that you enjoy and eat at times that are convenient to you- how shocking!
When is the best time to eat pre-workout?
In an ideal world, getting a meal in 3-4 hours before you train is optimal! This ensures that your food will have been digested and will be ready to be utilised by the muscles!! More glycogen in the muscles = more energy for you while working out!
What should I eat?
The most beneficial pre-workout foods should contain carbohydrates as they are our bodies preferred energy source! Carbs are converted to glycogen and that is what our muscles utilise while we exercise! Ensuring that you’re eating a meal with some balanced carbs 3-4 hours before your workout will be best for your performance as you will have enough glycogen stored in the muscles. This is what will give you the energy to push yourself even harder. Combined with this, small amounts of protein and healthy fats in the meal will help to increase your digestion time and control your blood sugar levels.
Good examples of these pre-work out meals could be things like porridge for breakfast, chicken and salad wrap (or a falafel wrap if you’re a herbivore like me) or something quick like peanut-butter and banana toast (don’t knock it till you try it). All of these meals have a nice balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats to get you powering through your workout!
I don’t have time- what do I do?!
Maybe you’ve had a manic day, or you’ve done the maths and your 6am workout means you’re up eating a meal at 3am (gross, pls never do this) and a full meal just isn’t feasible! The best option is to find something that is high in carbs which can raise your blood sugar levels to allow you to work harder! The best example of this is a banana!! My favourite pre-workout! Other fruits or energy bars (NAKD bars 4eva) are also great examples to fuel you through.
What about post-workout?
After working out, the combination of protein and carbohydrates will be your best mate. Together, the two will help you refuel all of that glycogen you’ve just depleted and promote muscle synthesis! Snacks like yogurt with some fruit works best for me! But there are endless options like eggs on toast, quinoa and vegetables, lean meats or fish with veggies/salad or even the classic choccy milk.
As I touched on in my previous protein blog, studies show that the timing of this meal isn’t too big of deal! Unless you’re training multiple times a day, research tells us that the window for growth and repair is around 24 hours.
So, eat when you feel ready after a workout! Work with your individual daily goals and as long as you work to hit those within 24 hours – timings of meals post-work out are not critical.
Most importantly, mix up all your meals! Aim to hit your daily goals but keep them interesting and full of foods that you actually enjoy eating. This will help you get a wide variety of nutrients and keep your meals interesting!