19 Oct 2016

When and What to Eat When Strength Training

Nutrition Advice

When strength training, you need to make sure you’re feeding your muscles with the right nutrients to ensure growth and recovery.

Find out what you need to be consuming before and after your weight training routine to see real results.

Pre-workout eating

There’s a reason why it’s harder to work out if you’ve just eaten a high fat or high fibre meal – digestibility. Instead of struggling to keep your meal down, you want something that releases slow burning energy, enabling you to work out longer and stronger.

Ideally, you should consume a meal with a carb-protein-fat breakdown of around 40-40-20 up to two hours prior to training. A snack between 200-250 calories in the hour before you train is also a good idea to help satisfy cravings and keep hunger pangs from cutting your training session short.

When weight training, protein is essential.  One to two hours before your workout, you should consume protein in order to have an adequate reserve available. The amount you eat will be based upon your body weight, training intensity level, workout length and gender.

Carbs with a low glycemic index (GI) are also a great pre-workout option as they release sugar into the bloodstream more slowly, and tend to contain more essential nutrients than simple carbs (like white bread and pasta).

Post-workout eating

After a workout, protein is more readily used for muscle building rather than fat storage. Protein and carbohydrates are needed to help repair muscles, replenish glycogen stores and prevent muscle soreness. In addition to a protein shake, this could come in the form of wholefoods like chicken, avocado, banana, eggs, fish, Greek yoghurt and low-fat milk.

In most cases, a high-energy diet that provides 1.2-2g of protein per kilogram of body mass will ensure that protein needs are met. Any excess protein you consume will be oxidised as an energy source and may contribute to gains in body fat.

Keep in mind:

Eat more frequently rather than increasing your volume of food to ensure an increase in both food and energy intake. 

Always opt for whole foods rather than shakes or smoothies.

Your pre-workout meal should be consumed between 30-50 minutes before you train.

Straight after you train, refuel with protein and an extra carb, such as a piece of fruit

Your post-workout meal should be consumed 30-60 minutes after training, comprised of carbs and protein to ensure adequate muscle recovery.

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