Fueling your body pre and post workout is crucial for performance and recovery. It is not a one size fits all formula, but there are a few basics for everyone to keep in mind. The truth is, there is no magic fix to working out and dieting- small changes are key for long term results, and you really cannot out exercise a poor diet! Overall, performance comes down to not only diet, but lifestyle factors as well! It is important to fuel your body with proper nutrition to maximize your performance and allow you to get the most of your classes. Let’s break it down:
Tip #1: Think of Food as Fuel
Pre and post workout meals are important in ensuring adequate performance- be sure to incorporate ALL food groups including lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, dairy, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Pre-workout (About 45 min. to max 3 hrs):
Focus on carbohydrates (ex: grains, fruit, honey) with a small amount of protein (ex: chicken, eggs, peanut butter). It shouldn't be too heavy of a meal, especially closer to 45 minutes out.
Example meal- Banana and peanut butter, yogurt and fruit, rice cake and almond butter, hard boiled egg and a Clementine, oatmeal and a few nuts, 1/2 c grapes and 10 almonds
Stay Hydrated! Long periods of endurance training will require more carbohydrates, and may even require some refueling with simple carbohydrate sources during the workout.
Immediate post workout snack:
Focus on simple carbohydrate such as a small piece of fruit until you get your actual meal in, and don’t forget your DotFit aminos!
Post-workout (1 hr. to max 2 hrs):
You want to focus on protein (aim for minimum 25 grams). Additionally, now is when you can add in some healthy fats and grains.
Example meal: 3-4 oz grilled chicken breast, 1/2c sweet potato, 1/2 c spinach and 1/3 of an avocado.
Tip #2: Think of Supplementation as an Insurance Plan
While I always promote food first, supplements can be a back-up to fill in any nutritional gaps for optimal health. For example, if you do not eat 2-3 servings of fatty fish per week, a fish oil supplement can be beneficial for you. A multivitamin and probiotics are also great to fill in those nutritional gaps and get your gut health back on track. For athletic performance, amino acids can be helpful for performance and recovery, and can be consumed before, during, and after workouts! Depending on your specific needs, you may also need protein, calcium, etc. for your specific needs and goals.
Tip #3: Hydration is Key
Hydration is extremely important in addition to diet, and specific needs for athletes depends on the variability in sweat rates for each person. Before working out, ensure you are hydrated. A good way to calculate how much you need to rehydrate is to weigh yourself before working out. Then after your workout, weigh yourself again. Typically, any "weight loss" in that time is actually water loss- so that is how much you need to rehydrate. Every 2.2 pounds lost is generally about 1 liter.
Tip #4: Reset to Maximize Recovery
Sleep is crucial! You recover in your sleep, and an adequate amount of sleep can help prevent soreness so you are ready to crush your next workout! Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Overall, it is a bit of a balancing act, and sometimes getting in an adequate amount of nutrition requires some planning. These are some basic and crucial ways to maximize your performance, whether you are a beginning in the gym, to an athlete- to take you one step forward.