PRE AND POST TRAINING NUTRITION: How does it work and how important is it really?
The purpose of pre and post-training nutrition is to provide your body with the most effective nutrition to support your training and body composition goals, increasing the availably of those nutrients at the time you need it most. These two nutrients are protein and carbohydrates; protein as a building block, and carbohydrates as fuel.
Meal timing aside just quickly though, as I want to make it clear there are things that are way more important, and need to be prioritised FIRST in order to maximise your chances at overall success:
- Adherence and consistency when it comes reaching your macro targets,
- The quality of your training and training methods, and
- Your overall health and stress levels.
Without these things in check, it won’t matter what time of the day you eat what nutrient. So, overall health and consistency first, and perfectly timing your meals second!
Now to answer the original question; how do I best time my meals?
Here is a very simple run-down of how you would approach your nutrition before and after training, for those ready to give it a go:
- Eat a carbohydrate and protein rich meal, with lower fat. This could be something like lean meat with rice or potato, oats with whey protein.
- Make sure to leave at least 90-mins to digest the meal before you train.
- If you are training first thing, and you’re not ‘dieting’ you can train fasted
- If you are dieting, I recommend you have a small protein-meal before you go to the gym, to avoid stressing your body out too much (especially for females). Something good for this could be protein custard, a protein yogurt, or similar.
- If you’re training at night, then carbs and protein can be consumed pre training really easily
- You want to eat something that is higher in carbohydrate and protein, but lower in fat and fibre, as the faster this meal is digested, the better for muscle recovery.
- Think – white rice or potato with lean beef or chicken, or rice cakes with jam and a whey protein shake in water.
- The higher your choice of protein is in the amino acid Leucine, the better this will impact your muscle recovery. This can be found in the largest amounts in lean meat, egg whites, and whey protein supplements.
Meal timing is great if you’re wanting to just just that little bit more from your nutrition and training. If you’re not quite there yet, and you find all this timing info overwhelming, then it is completely OK not to get this right in the early stages. You will still make progress. Many of my clients have competed (and won) without worrying about meal timing at all!
The image is chicken breast with jasmine and wild rice, and some pomegranate seeds – delish! There’s a little spinach in there (I had too much in the fridge!) but this is a pretty good option for pre or post training 😉
Hope this is helpful. Leave any questions in the comment section below and I’ll answer them for you