Consuming meals properly and within the appropriate time frame can decrease workout recovery time and increase muscle growth. This post explores pre and post workout meals.
Pre Exercise. For the casual exerciser, keep your diet practical. I suggest eating a square meal about 4 hours before your workout. Avoid meals that are high in fat (whole dairy products, nuts, and fried or processed foods) and fiber (fiber bars, beans, and legumes). Exercisers should also avoid foods that are not typical to their diets as the body may not digest them well. The goal is to keep the digestive system moving quickly to avoid gastrointestinal stress. The ability to break down food quickly is important to nutrient absorption.
About 30 minutes before physical activity, carbs should be eaten for quick energy. It is best if the carbs are fast digesting. Most fruit will fall under this category.
Post Exercise. Refueling the body is vital to the recovery process. After exercise, your body’s cells soak up the nutrients like a sponges. Post exercise meals should be consumed in a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Don’t worry! I made it easy for you. Below, I listed a few snacks that fit this mold. Meals should be consumed within 30 minutes after your workout.
1/2 whole wheat bread peanut butter sandwich
1 – 80z glass of low-fat milk (endurance athletes drink low-fat chocolate milk)
Smoothie with low-fat milk and fruit
Remember, consistency is key. It is important it is good to eat a well-balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, grains, healthy fats, and proteins to prevent deterioration of the muscles.
American Dietetic Association. (2009, January 1). Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine from the Academy: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from http://www.eatright.org/About/Content.aspx?id=8365
Blatner, D. (2012, December 1). Play Ball! Tips for the Weekend Baseball Warrior. from the Academy. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442463944
Mayo Clinic. (2014, February 12). Dehydration. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/basics/symptoms/con-20030056
Quinn, E. (2014, January 1). How Much Water Should You Drink Proper Hydration During Exercise?. About.com Sports Medicine. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/hydrationandfluid/a/ProperHydration.htm