What you eat before and after you train can significantly impact your results, and timing makes all the difference. According to an Australian study published in the Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, athletes (and you are athletes!), who ate directly before an after workouts saw bigger gains in strength and lean body mass than those who ate the same meals for breakfast and dinner instead of pairing them with their training. Here are your best bets for maximum results:
When: 2 to 3 hours before your afternoon workout, or one hour before your early morning workout.
What: Fast- digesting protein, slow-digesting carbs
Why: Protein that breaks down slowly can pull blood to the stomach to help digestion, making less available to your muscles. It can also upset your stomach. Carbs are your fuel, and carbs that will raise your blood sugars slowly will keep your energy at its peak during your workout.
Fast -digesting proteins: whey protein, chicken, turkey, tuna, egg whites
Slow digesting carbs: whole grains, oatmeal, nuts
When: within 30 minutes of completing training
What: Fast and slow digesting protein, fast digesting carbs
Why: Your body needs protein and amino acids for your muscles to recover and grow. You need a shot of energy to replenish what you burned during your workout.
Slow digesting protein: whole eggs, milk, whey protein (yes, again), almond/peanut butter
Fast digesting carbs: sweet potato, pineapple, cantaloupe, banana
Pre-workout snacks: Oatmeal sprinkled with 1 scoop whey protein powder & 1/2t. cinnamon. 1 hard-boiled egg, 1/2 orange sprinkled w/ peanuts, whole wheat toast w/ 1 t. almond butter
Post-workout snacks: chocolate milk, 1 scoop whey protein powder w/ coconut milk and 1/2 banana. 2 egg whites scrambled w/ steamed veggies.