What To Eat Before You Work Out
Carbs are fuel, plain and simple. People who don't exercise regularly may have a harder time burning them off, but for an avid fitness enthusiast, carbs are not the enemy.
Make sure your carbs are complex, however. That means whole-grain toast, oatmeal, fruit, or a serving of brown rice make great foundations for pre gym meals.
Protein is your BFF whether you're a weight trainer or a long-distance runner. That doesn't mean you should scarf down a steak, however. Choose lean turkey or chicken, seafood, hard-boiled eggs, or nuts. A serving of Greek yogurt (without added sugar, please) can provide both carbs and protein, making it an ideal pre-workout gym meal.
Aim for between 0.5 and 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. Endurance athletes should go for the lower amount, while strength athletes will want a bit more. Naturally, you will want to save some of that quota for later in the day, so don't eat it all before you head to the gym.
Gym Meals for After the Workout
It's important to eat fairly soon after your exercise. Go ahead and take your shower, then head home or to the office, but don't wait much longer than that. Your body needs to replenish the glycogen you've lost. Additionally, you'll need food to help aid in muscle recovery.
When you work out, your body breaks down proteins in your tissues. Replacing them can help it repair and rebuild the muscles. The same choices you made for your pre-workout nosh will work afterwards: lean meats, peanut butter, eggs, or beans.
You may have heard that eating fats will slow your digestion, and therefore should be avoided right after a workout. While it's true that greasy, fatty foods — think a pile of chicken wings or BBQ ribs — will make your digestive system work more slowly, a moderate amount of healthy fat is just fine to incorporate into post-workout gym meals.
The nuts or salmon you're already choosing for protein will fill this bill. Or try half an avocado on your tuna sandwich.
Don't forget that many vitamins and nutrients, especially those found in leafy greens, are fat-soluble. Without some fat in your daily diet, you simply won't absorb as many nutrients as you need. In other words, that raw-kale salad will be in vain without a little EVOO.