I know - I know. Morning workouts can be tough to get in a meal beforehand. Those 5:30am classes can make it tough to think about fitting in a meal or any food prior!
BUT - unless you are strictly following a specific diet plan (such as intermittent fasting or keto), it is crucial to have a little something before AND after your workout to maximize your workout results.
We often think of protein as the main fuel for our workouts, and it's true that protein is what our body uses to rebuild our worked muscle. However, it's carbohydrates that actually fuel your workouts! Our bodies store carbohydrates in our muscle as glycogen. During workouts, our bodies will convert that stored glycogen to glucose for your body to use during your workout for energy! Without enough carbohydrates prior to a workout, your risk for "hitting the wall" and running out of energy is higher. Yes, if you don't consume enough carbohydrates prior to a workout, your body will breakdown fats as energy. Trouble with this, is that fats burn much slower and can absolutely affect your ability to perform.
Fats aren't bad to eat though! In fact, if you are planning a longer workout, fats prior to the workout are also key because after about 90 minutes, your glycogen stores run out and your body relies on fats for energy. The combination is important.
Now, of course, like we'd said, protein is also a key part of both pre-workout and post-workout fuel. Proteins are used to help re-build the muscle that was broken down during a workout. Consuming some protein prior to a workout can help relieve post-workout soreness, plus making sure to have a good source after can help to shorten muscle recovery!
So - how to we translate this into information that is useful for us?
Let's delve into some ideas for a pre-workout nourish sesh:
- 1 hard-boiled egg with half of a banana
- 1 tbsp almond butter spread on a slice of sprouted whole grain toast
- 1/2 cup of cooked steel cut oats/quinoa with a scoop of protein powder, milk and cinnamon
- 1/2 cup of plain whole-fat greek yogurt with berries
As you can see, these portions aren't big - just enough to help to satisfy your body's macronutrient needs for a good workout!
Eating after a workout is also really useful; especially when it's immediately after. Bring a protein shake in or an apple with some cheese is easily portable and will meet your needs.
So - tell us: how do you fuel your workouts?!