Food before & after training

When I first got into fitness my biggest struggle was definitely nutrition. Trying to find information about the right food to eat when you are training is extremely confusing and everyone is giving out different facts. We have all heard that abs are made in the kitchen but my big question was ‘how can I fuel my body right”. Training does put stress on the body (not in a partially bad way) and it is so important to refuel right so the body can recharge and get stronger.

I believe the first thing to put your focus on is what to eat before and after your training session. Before you train you want to get your body ready and fill yourself up with energy. After your session you want to refuel your energy level and give the right nutrition so your body can build up what has been challenged during the training. The whole idea of eating less and hoping that you will lose weight quicker is an old concept that we need to move past from. Instead be kind to your body and treat it right, and you will reach your goals.

Different types of training will need different types of nutrition but today I will keep it simple and target an overall training session. Let’s start with before.

Before you train I would recommend that you have a good meal 2-4 hrs ahead. If you don’t have that time then a simple snack 1-1.5 hrs before is advised. Reason for this is to allow your stomach to digest the food and avoid discomfort while training. Carbohydrate, fat and protein should be focused on beforehand. They will all help to fill you up and give you the right energy. For a meal you can eat any type of carbohydrates (simple and complex) but for a snack I would go for simple carbohydrate to make sure the energy will kick in. Fat also gives you energy and protein will prepare your muscles for what is coming, both these macros will also fill you up.

After a training session, the key is carbohydrate and protein. This meal is essential and should be eaten within 1-2 hrs after you finish exercising. If you are in a rush then grab a snack straight after and get a good meal in as soon as you can. Carbohydrate is made to refuel your body with energy, both your brain and your body needs it. You are using stored energy when you are training and you need to recharge afterwards. Protein is needed for our muscles. When we are training we are actually breaking down muscle tissue and protein will help to rebuild the tissue and keeps us strong. Believing that you will grow bigger by eating a bit of protein after is a not 100% right, sure bodybuilders needs a lot of protein but I promise you won’t look hence by eating one chicken fillet. Same is for those who want to build muscles, it is said that your body only can take up around 25g of protein in one hour so a double shake of protein powder and a big meal of beef won’t make you bigger any quicker.

I put together just a few different combinations to give you an idea but of course there is plenty of other options.

Snacks before training:
Banana + mixed nuts & pumpkin seeds + coconut water
Turkey + avocado + rye bread
Peanut butter + blueberry + spinach + almond milk smoothie

Snacks after training:
Banana + peanut butter + pumpkin seeds
Tuna + egg + rye bread
Oat + chia seeds + mixed berries + spinach smoothie

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