Many people think it is best to not eat before working out, but this is not always true. If you eat too much before a workout, it can make you feel sluggish and slow, but if you don't eat enough you may get hungry and not workout as long or as hard. Eating the right food and the right amount is critical in helping muscle growth and recovery. The key is to find what amount of food works best for your body.
Why It Is Important to Eat Before Working Out
Eating before working out is essential if you want to prevent your blood sugar levels from getting low and draining your energy. A pre-workout meal should contain carbohydrates and protein and be low in fat content. If you are looking to build muscle, a 2:1 or 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is ideal. A 1:1 or 2:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is best if you are looking to lose weight.
When and What to Eat Before a Workout
It is best to eat a full meal 3 to 4 hours before working out .This meal should consist of 400 to 700 calories, depending on your weight. If you weigh more, you need more calories. Some good choices for a pre-workout meal are whole wheat pasta and tomato sauce, eggs, salmon, chicken breast, oatmeal, baked potato, and fruit. If your workout is first thing in the morning, try a shake made from whey protein powder, one banana and one small glass of orange juice.
If you work out at an off time, it is recommended that you eat a snack 60 to 90 minutes before exercising. This snack should contain 200 to 350 calories. Some great snacks to try include fruit, fruit smoothies, fruit juices, low-fat yogurt, nuts, or an energy bar. You should avoid high fat and empty calorie foods, such as meats, doughnuts, potato chips, and French fries. These foods are difficult to digest and remain in the stomach for too long.
Why It Is Important to Eat After Working Out
You have just stretched and depleted your muscles, it is important to give your body what it needs to repair them. Eating a post workout meal will help to build muscles and help with weight loss. This meal should be low in fat and high in carbohydrates and proteins.The carbohydrate to protein ration can be 2:1 or up to 4:1. The post-workout meal should contain at least 250 calories, but no more than 500 calories
When and What to Eat After a Workout
It is best to eat within one hour of finishing your workout. Some good choices for a post workout snack are turkey, chicken, or tuna on whole wheat bread, a salad, eggs, potatoes, string cheese, vegetables, or a protein bar or shake. If you workout at the gym, it is a good idea to bring a whey protein shake with you to drink on the way home. If you don't eat after your workout, you are taking the chance of becoming overly hungry later, which can lead to eating too much.