The fundamental rule to get the desired result with your fitness routine is getting the right nutrients into your system. Your post and pre-workout meal timing determine how well you can work out and how fast you can recover.
While most of us pay attention to the type of food that we eat, the common mistake that we make is not eating at the optimal time to get the best results. Here is a complete guide to help you understand the perfect pre and post-workout timing for your meals.
The Best Pre-Workout Meal Timing
When it comes to your pre-workout meal timing, one important factor to consider is when you choose to workout. Depending upon the time of the day that you plan your workout, your pre-workout meal time changes drastically.
The primary focus when it comes to a pre-workout meal is to gain as much energy as you can to sustain a workout. The meal that you consume includes ingredients like proteins and carbohydrates as they are the primary source of energy.
Here are some tips to plan your pre-workout meal depending upon the time of the day:
- When you workout early in the morning: The first meal of the day cannot be a heavy one, of course. But, you need something to get you started and keep you going. Eating a small snack about 30 minutes before your training is a good idea to keep you feeling energized through your workout. It is best to consume a snack that is low in fat, high in carbs and moderate in protein.
- In the middle of the day: If you workout sometime in the afternoon, chances are that you have already eaten one of your big meals. First, you need some rest before you begin your workout. Plan your pre-workout timing such that you get at least 2-3 hour gaps between the meal and your workout. Your pre-workout meal should be consumed at least 60 minutes before your workout. In this case, it is best to eat a meal that is high in protein and carbohydrates.
Here are a few tips to follow when it comes to your pre-workout meal:
- In case you feel uneasy or uncomfortable after eating your pre-workout snack in the morning, try to postpone your workout start time by 10 minutes.
- In case you feel some discomfort after you consume a pre-workout meal in the middle of the day, push your workout start time by 15-30 minutes.
Planning Your Post-Workout Timing For Meals
One question that most people have is after workout what time to eat. This is a very important thing to consider as your rate of recovery will depend on your post-workout timing. You need to make sure that your muscles are fuelled in time to prevent any chances of muscle loss or deterioration.
Most experts suggest that you should trust your intuition when it comes to your post-workout meal timing. Normally, you will begin to feel hungry right after your workout or a few minutes after it. This is a sign that the nutrients that your body needs have been utilized to facilitate your workout. Now, it is time to refuel your muscles.
The gap between your workout and your meal is known as ‘nutrient timing’. Early research suggested that you should plan your post-workout timing immediately after you have finished your workout or wait for a maximum of 15-30 minutes. However, the early researchers did not account for the reactions in your body in case of a delay in the meal.
However, recent studies have taken a lot more factors into consideration. They tested the effects of eating 1-2 hours after your training. The difference between fitness enthusiasts who had fasted before the workout and those who had consumed a pre-workout meal was also taken into account. The results showed that the best benefits were enjoyed when you consumed your meal 30 minutes after working out.
The Benefits of Planning Post And Pre-Workout Meal Timing
When you plan the time gap between pre-workout meal and workout or the post-workout meal timing precisely, you can enjoy several benefits:
- It becomes much easier to plan your meals even on a busy day with the right schedule for your meals.
- Planning your post-workout timing is essential in replenishing the nutrients in your body after a heavy and strenuous training routine. These nutrients are used up as fuel for your exercise. And, if you fail to replenish them, the body enters a catabolic state that is likely to cause muscle loss.
- Eating your pre-workout meal according to the recommendation of experts will give you enough energy to sustain your entire training session. You will also not feel uneasy when you are working out if you plan your meals correctly.
- Your pre-workout and post-workout meal is an important part of your regular diet and meal plan. It is important to schedule them correctly to plan the meals through the day and ensure that there are no unwanted overlaps.
- The timing of your meal, particularly your pre-workout meal timing determines what you will eat before and after your workout. It also makes it easier for you to train at the time of the day that you choose.
- You can get the best benefits of your training schedule when you plan your pre and post-workout meals as your training ability improves. The right pre-workout timing fuels you when you are training. On the other hand, the right post-workout timing ensures that you recover faster. This prevents any soreness or stiffness the next day.
You can choose from a host of supplements that make for the best pre and post-workout meals for a more convenient option to meet your daily required intake of various nutrients. It is a good idea to consult with an expert for the best meal and supplementation strategy that will help you get the most from your training regime.