I’ve said it before, but I will say it again. I am not a nutritionist, this is merely a hobby for me. I have done my fair share of research but this is just me sharing some of what I have learned, what works for me and why.
How Food Plays A Role
Food is fuel (I know that is the most profound thing you have ever heard). We must understand that nutrients play a key role in the quality of our performance. There is no magic formula, no percentage that is perfect for everyone. Are you a cookie? Didn’t think so… There is no cookie cutter rule that will fit you as a unique human being with your genes, height, weight, hormone levels, workout regimens…etc. Some of your food allotment and even pre or post workout intake is going to not only be based on your individual characteristics but your goals. Are you trying to lose weight, gain weight, maintain, or increase training capacity?? SOOO MANY QUESTIONS! Simply put, you should eat to provide ample nutrition to support your activity level.
I do not typically eat before a workout because I usually workout at 5:15AM! It is cray cray to think that I would need to get up at 3:30AM to make breakfast and eat before I head over to the box. CRAY-CRAY. However, on a day when I may be training later, I find it incredibly important to eat about an hour before I workout. A good example of breakfast would be: eggs, guacamole, a vegetable and BACON. –Say what you want about Bacon–it happens pretty much every day in my world! Most of the time a pre-workout choice should consist of good fat and protein and some carbs (but not too many because we don’t want to have a “sugar” crash during a workout—that just sucks—and we have all been there).
What did you do? High volume, high intensity, low volume, did you go for a walk, or run a marathon?? You have to consider the workout and your goals. Post-workout nutrition is most important for someone who is seriously training, but can be beneficial to anyone (we are not all Rich Froning). Basically you want to get amino acids and glycogen back into your muscles as fast as possible. Really you are looking at no more than a 30 minute window for post workout nutrition to be effective. I just eat a good breakfast when I get home, but again I workout super early. If I am going to be at the box or out and about for a long time post workout then I have a snack on hand. Think Protein and Carbs. For instance, meat, eggs, fruit, a root veggie (sweet potato) and a personal favorite–coconut water. I tend to stay away from protein shakes and focus on REAL FOOD—if you are using a protein powder or recovery supplement, take a look at the ingredients and know what you are putting in your body. Do your research.
Seriously, this one is simple. Drink lots of water! All. day. long. Your body weight in ounces is a good rule of thumb and YES, that is A LOT of water. Again this depends on you as an individual! If you get tired of water, throw in some lime, cucumbers or your favorite fruit. Change it up, get creative and DRINK!
Last thing to note, having a good game plan tends to work best for most people, so plan ahead and go be awesome!