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December 18 2015

Eat to Lead! – Pre & Post Workout Foods by Jessy Rosen

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FITNESS GOALS.

We all have them

While many of us may follow the perfect exercise regimens to condition our bodies, the truth is simple: working out is only 50% of the battle.

Proper health and nutrition is just as much of an equal part in the journey to success.

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If any of your fitness goals fall into the categories listed above, then the nutrition aspect that surrounds your workouts is key. In fact, it’s a crucial determinant for seeing results!

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Many people resort to calling this meal the “Energy Phase.” Why the energy phase you may wonder? Well, quite simply, this meal is what you eat before your workout. The MAIN goal of it is to help fuel the workout itself and to optimize your performance throughout it. In a more in depth look, the purpose of any good pre-workout meal is to:

  • Prevent muscle protein reduction
  • Prevent the depletion of muscle glycogen
  • Prevent the rising of cortisol levels

How do you achieve this you may ask?

Two words my friends: Carbs & proteins.

Yes, carbs and proteins are your friends NOT your muffin top enemies.

And contrary to the popular belief that there are extremely detailed, precise instructions (down to the nitty gritty minutes and seconds) of when and how much you should eat, the truth is that there is NO need for such over kill! The best time to have your pre-workout meal is usually an hour and a half to forty-five minutes before your workout. Having it later than the hour and a half mark would not provide the necessary energy needed to sustain your workout, and having it earlier than thirty minutes before would serve more as a stomach cramp and nausea inducer than fuel for performance endurance.

In terms of portions, the focus of these meals should be on having an equal 50-50 ratio of carbs to proteins. What does this look like? Simply think of having 50% of your calories from the meal coming from carbohydrates, and the other 50% coming from protein sources. Another way to approach it is to weight out approximately 0.25g of each macro category per pound of your targeted body weight.
So whether you choose to eat your meal or drink it through smoothies and shakes, having a balanced pre-workout meal will provide you with the needed energy to fuel your workouts and optimize your fitness performance.

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This meal is what you eat immediately after your workout. It is a crucial component for optimizing the recovery process and ensuring that your body is supplied with the adequate means to recover, adapt, and improve its strength and endurance for performance. It is often referred to as the “anabolic meal.” This name derives from the term anabolism, which in this case refers to the building or rebuilding of your muscles. In a more in depth look, the purpose of a post-workout meal is to:

  • Replenish depleted glycogen levels
  • Reduce increased cortisol levels
  • Reduce the breakdown of muscle protein
  • Enhance the recovery process
  • Increase recovery time
  • Increase the synthesis of muscle protein

And what two things does your body need once again to optimally achieve these goals and to maximize the possible benefits?

Yes, you guessed it:

CARBS & PROTEINS.

As for timing, the best time to consume this meal is between the first thirty minutes to one hour immediately following a workout.

And contrary to the popular belief of eating as much protein as you can inhale following a workout session, the ideal ratio of macros you should aim for is a 30-5-65 ratio. That means 30% of the calories in the meal should consist of a protein source and the other 65% should be the carbohydrate source, with only  5% being fat.

NOTE: it is VERY important to keep fat intake to a MINIMUM immediately following a workout. The reason for this is because high fat consumption prevents the easy absorption and breakdown of proteins.

Here are some ideas of great pre and post-workout nutritious meals to help you achieve all your goals and leave your taste buds swimming in flavour combinations galore!

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Read more by Jessy:

The Ultimate Date Night Menu

The Top 10 Reasons To Strength Train

The Confident Girl’s Guide to Protein Bars

Tangled Up In Thai

Protein With A Punch

Falling Head Over Vegan

Meal Prep 101

Meet Jessy:

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About Jessy Rosen

My name is Jessy and I’m a junior at Johns Hopkins University. I am a pre med student and neuroscience major- just a girl trying to explore the 90% of the brain that no one knows about! As an up-and-coming fitness model and competitor, you can find me kicking butt in the classroom and in the weight room! I’m in love with health, fitness, and all things related to maintaining a balanced lifestyle! Minimize the negative; maximize the positive and watch your life take flight!

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