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Pre & Post Workout Meal - Understanding Its Importance!

Written and reviewed by
Post graduate diploma in? Early childhood care and education (ECCE), Bachelor of Science (Home) with major in FOOD AND NUTRITION
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Vadodara  •  13 years experience
Pre & Post Workout Meal - Understanding Its Importance!

Eating the right food at the right time is essential to in order to complete your fitness goal. While there exist many theories on the importance of workout meal, there are some simple rules which when followed can fetch great results. The right amount of nutrition pre and post workout can go a long way in ensuring that the body responds well to the stress.

Why is nutrient timing an important component of the exercise regime?
Consider your body as a machine, it is imperative that a well-maintained machine with the right fuel at the right time will have more longevity compared to others. The same holds true for the body as well. To maximize the output of the gym, it is necessary to consume the right nutrients for the body. A right meal just before the gym session can result in a great workout session. This, in turn, means an inch closer to the fitness goal. Similarly, the post workout meal ensures that muscles are adequately refueled and the blood sugar level is well maintained. Another advantage of the right pre and post workout meal is the fact that it helps the body to work out for a longer duration.

Know the carbohydrate
Instead of blindly choosing an energy drink, it makes sense to choose the right carbohydrate. There are 2 types of carbohydrate- simple and complex. Eventually, all carbohydrates are broken down into simple carbohydrates. Both have their own role to play. As per various studies, it has been proved that the best time to consume complex carbohydrate such as brown rice, oats and brown grains is before a couple of hours of the workout session. It ensures that the body is provided with a gradual supply of energy throughout the session. After a workout session, much of the glycogen gets depleted from the muscles. It is, therefore, essential to consume simple carbohydrate after a gym session. It readily supplies instant energy and carb to the muscles. Some good source of simple carbohydrate includes sugar, candy bar, sweet bread, fruits etc.

The next meal after workout
Post workout, the simple carbohydrate gets absorbed by the body way too fast. It is, therefore, necessary to have a good meal couple of hours after the workout session. Some good to consume food include green veggies, fruit salad etc. It helps in suppressing the appetite and make a person feel full.

What should be the protein count?
While there are many recommendations out there, a good way to determine the protein count is to consume 1.1 gm to 1.2 gm per kilogram of body weight. However, there is no magic number. 25-35 grams of protein needs to be consumed in every meal. Ideally, protein intake should happen a couple of hours before the workout and couple of hours after the workout session. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dietitian/Nutritionist.

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