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Is It Better To Eat Before Or After A Workout?

Feb 17, 2011
Short answer: It is best to do both! Eating before a workout serves a very different purpose than eating after a workout but they are both equally important.

A pre-workout meal should consist of mainly easy to digest, carbohydrate type foods in order to supply the energy requirements for the up-coming workout. Smoothies are a great way to get a fast, convenient and healthy meal in before an exercise session. Your smoothie can contain any fruit that you enjoy eating but the following work particularly well mixed in a blender: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, peaches, grapes, and/or bananas. Cover the chosen fruit with water and blend until smooth. Alternatives to add to your smoothies would be rice milk or almond milk, yogurt and/or ice if you like it cold and thick. If your workout is planned for first thing in the morning, you should also be consuming water prior to and during the workout, as the hours of sleep time were spent not consuming any fluids and the body will likely be in a dehydrated state. If the workout is planned for later on in the day, continue to drink water throughout the day and have your regular meals at breakfast and lunch. If the workout is planned for a time that has been longer than 3 hours since your last meal, a light snack of fruit and a hand full of raw nuts is recommended - eaten about half hour to one hour prior to the workout.

A post-workout meal should provide protein in order to provide the body with the building blocks used to rebuild muscle tissue and help the body recover from the exercises performed. There is a one hour window of time, right after the workout, which is important from a replenishing standpoint. You want to consume your post workout protein meal within that one hour time frame. The best form for digestion is a protein powder. There are many different kinds of protein powders available on the market from whey protein to vegan protein (rice, soy or pea). They are all beneficial so choose what you prefer. The protein powder can be mixed in with water, or milk alternatives such as rice or almond milk for a convenient and healthy post-workout drink. Continue to hydrate with water. As well, replenish any lost electrolytes (minerals such as chloride, potassium and sodium) if the workout was intense from a cardio-vascular standpoint or conducted in the heat where sweating takes place more rapidly.

It is important to feed the body well throughout each and every day - not just before or after your workouts. That way your body will provide all the long lasting energy that you desire so you can enjoy a great feeling during and after your workouts.

Barbara Bates is a Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner, Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioner, Certified Personal Trainer, Reiki Practitioner and CancerGuide. She holds a Masters Degree of Applied Science in Holistic Nutrition and runs a wellness practice in Canada. Barbara is specifically trained in diagnosing and correcting the underlying root cause of health concerns rather than treating the symptoms and her nutrition services are offered over the internet to assist those in all areas of the world. To contact Barbara, please visit innerbalancewellness.com. You can email her at innerbalance@sympatico.ca. She can be reached via email at innerbalance@sympatico.ca.

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