Our clients want to maximize the benefits from their workouts. So often people faithfully put in the work exercising but neglect their nutrition, robbing themselves of optimal results.
Benefits of fueling appropriately include but are not limited to, higher intensity training over longer intervals, improved recovery, optimal body composition, increased strength and decreased risk of injury. In other words, proper nutrition has the potential to allow you to workout longer and harder, while feeling better and losing body fat.
You may notice your home workouts are less intense than gym workouts and group fitness classes. To determine if it’s appropriate to intentionally fuel before and after your workout, you must determine the duration and intensity of your workout. If you are working out at a moderate to high intensity for 60 minutes or longer, you can benefit from eating pre-workout and post-workout.
Improper fueling can plateau results. Prioritizing eating before and after home workouts may feel counterintuitive, but is so important to maximize your efforts.
Let’s go over some practical ideals of how to fuel and refuel.
Fuel – High Carbohydrate Snack
For optimal performance, your body needs a combination of carbohydrates and a small amount of protein before exercise. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel for all muscle movements. Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth, and consuming a small amount of protein before exercise aids in the recovery process.
Timing is important. If you’re eating within 1 hour of exercise, limit fat, fiber and excess protein for easy digestion. If you aren’t used to eating before a workout, start with small portions and avoid eating within 30-45 minutes before your workout. As you learn to fuel your body, you can scale up your pre-workout fuel.
Great pre-workout snacks within 1 hour of exercise include:
- Piece of fruit
- 2-3 slices dried fruit
- Slice of whole grain toast with jam
Great pre-workout snacks within 2 hours of exercise include:
- Banana with peanut butter
- Oatmeal topped with berries and sliced almonds
- ½ turkey sandwich on whole grain bread
If your last meal was within 2 hours before exercise, you’re covered and don’t need an additional snack, especially if trying to lose weight.
If you want to understand specifically what your body needs to reach your goals in the most efficient way, schedule your 15-minute call now.
During Workout – Hydrate
During your workout, it’s important to stay well hydrated. Daily hydration goals range from .5oz to 1oz per pound body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs aim to hydrate with 75-150oz water throughout the day. During workouts, stay well hydrated with 4-6 sips water every 15 minutes.
Refuel – Protein and Carbohydrate
Once you’ve done your workout, make sure to refuel well for maximum benefits. Improper post-exercise nutrition could lead to uncontrolled hunger, poor energy, diminished performance next workout, increased soreness and increased muscle breakdown.
Following exercise, your body needs another dose of protein and carbohydrates. The protein will promote muscle synthesis, while the carbohydrates replenish the stores of carbohydrate burned during exercise. It is key to refuel within 1 hour after exercise, and the sooner, the better.
Exercise can suppress hunger, but it’s extremely important to refuel as soon as possible otherwise your body is using broken down muscle for energy instead of rebuilding muscle to improve metabolism.
If your next meal is within 1 hour after the completion of your workout, your next meal is a great opportunity to refuel without adding additional calories. Just be sure to incorporate protein and carbohydrates.
Balanced post-workout meals include:
- Breakfast tacos with eggs and spinach in corn tortillas
- Greek yogurt with berries and chia seeds
- 8oz low-fat chocolate milk
You may feel like you can function properly without fueling and refueling, but why settle for functioning when you are performing optimally. Same goes for overall nutrition and health: eat to feel your best, not just to keep breathing.
We know you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet. Many of our clients are putting in the work and effort, but not seeing the results they expect. Fueling properly before and after your workouts has many benefits, including feeling more energized during your workout and maximizing your efforts to see the results you want.
Want more help with creating a fueling plan that will help you get the most out of your home workouts?