Why Pre and Post Workout snacks are so important, and what to eat before and after Exercise!
Good afternoon everyone!
I hope you are keeping safe and well, wherever in the world you are!
When I started off on my fitness journey I used to think that less is more. What I mean by this is that I used to think that not eating for a few hours both before and after a workout would optimise my results and help me loose fat and build more muscle… But boy was I wrong.
Think of eating before and after a Workout like topping up the fuel in your car before and after a long drive, you wouldn’t go for a drive with your tank on empty right- So why do this with your body?
Pre and Post workout Snacks are important for Muscle Growth as well as weight loss!
But why should I Fuel my body before a workout?
Having a snack or Meal before a workout is so important as it allows you to give maximum performance in your workouts. It reduces Muscle Glycogen Depletion (When exercising the body converts Glycogen into Glucose and uses this to help with muscle contraction). For this reason, Glycogen stores must be restored with Carbohydrates, so a high carbohydrate snack or meal is always a good idea before a workout!
Please erase the Myth that Carbs make you ‘fat’ from your brain and give them a try! You may be shocked by how much your performance enhances. As long as you are getting Healthy carbohydrates such as wholegrain Bread, Pasta and brown Rice, having the right amount of Carbs, they will NOT make you fat!
Another reason why Pre workout snacks are a good idea is because they reduce muscle protein breakdown. A little protein before a workout will help maintain and increase muscle mass, and will also increase Amino Acid Production in the blood which will help boost Muscle Hypertrophy.
What should I eat before a workout?
The answer to this is pretty simple: Carb’s and Protein
Carbs will …
- Help fuel your body and give you more energy
- Preserve Muscle glycogen for your workout
Protein Will …
- Help support the muscles during your workout
- Help with the growth and repair of muscles.
You should aim to have around 20-40g of protein before a workout depending on exercise intensity and your height/your weight
A pre workout snack should usually be consumed 30-60 minutes before a workout.
Some of my favourite High Carb and Protein Pre workout Snack ideas include:
- Peanut butter on Rye Crackers
- Bananas and Peanut Butter
- A bowl of Porridge with added Vegan Protein Powder
- Low sugar Protein Granola with High Protein Soya Yoghurt
- A Small Sweet Potato with Curried Chickpeas
- Fruit Smoothie with added protein powder
And why do I need Post workout Snacks?
If you don’t fuel your body after a workout then you won’t optimize your muscle growth or your recovery.
Post workout snacks are just as important as pre workout snacks as they alow the recovery phase to begin. Like Pre-workout Snacks, they should be a combination of both protein and Carbohydrates as it helps the body to Re-Stock lost Glycogen from your workout, ad helps to speed your recovery/ reduce muscle soreness.
Consuming protein after a workout also reduces Muscle Protein Breakdown and helps to reduce fatigue.
After a workout I aim to eat within 30 minutes of completion. This is most effective for topping up depleted stores within the body. I personally find that having a protein shake/juice, alongside my snak or meal helps me up my protein intake and hit my protein Macros for the day.
Some of my favourite High Carb and Protein Post workout Snack ideas include:
(Each Snack is consumed with a Vegan Protein Juice from 'My Protein' to help replenish water stores as well as protein stores)
- Wholemeal Toast with Peanut butter and Banana
- My Protein Vegan Cookie (13g of protein each)
- A Small Jacket Potato with Chickpeas and Kidney Beans
I also try other Vegan Protein Bars/Brownies/ Cookies from time to time - My favourite brand is My Protein. These are a great idea to easily up your protein after a workout alongside a protein Juice/Shake.
And what about Fats?
Combining Fats in your Pre and Post workout Snacks can also be okay as long as you are doing this in moderation! Getting enough Protein and Carb’s first is what is most important, and then you can add some Healthy Fats on top of this.
Fat will help maintain Blood Sugar Levels (Glucose and insulin Levels) and also slows down the digestion of food, meaning that you stay fuller for longer, and don’t get cravings later on.
So to sumarise, Without Pre and Post workout snacks/Meals we can:
- Compromise results… Both weight loss and Muscle Gain
- Delay recovery, compromising workouts in the future
- Increase muscle soreness after a workout
- Increase chances of Injury.
So make sure that you fuel up both before and after a workout! You’ll thank me later!
I hope you have a lovely day!
Lots of Love