My goal is to help you understand why you are eating what I say you should before and after workouts! The more you can understand why it is encouraged to eat these certain foods before and after workouts; you will become more comfortable and confident in creating meals and fueling your body well! And that is what I want for you… to not just know the information, but to understand it!

CARBOHYDRATES

Carbohydrates get a bad rap, but they are crucial to your workout. Your muscles use the glucose from carbohydrates for fuel. Glycogen stores are the immediate source of energy for high intensity, short-duration exercise. For a longer duration, exercise depends on the type of exercise and intensity as to how much carbohydrates are being utilized for energy. It is good to eat simple carbohydrates before a workout to provide extra glucose to replenish glucose stores used during a workout.

You also need carbohydrates in your post-workout meal to replenish your lost glycogen stores during the workout. Glucose is essential for running all essential functions in your body and providing the majority of energy for brain function. The amount at which you need depends again on the type of activity you completed. It is recommended to consume 0.5-0.7 g carbohydrate per pound of body weight within 30 minutes after training to result in proper glycogen re-synthesis. Additionally, the consumption of simple carbohydrates assists in the uptake of proteins and helps with muscle synthesis.

PROTEIN

Protein is just as important in pre-workout nutrition as it is after a workout, just not in as high of quantity. Eating protein before a workout helps increase muscle protein synthesis, muscle growth, improves muscle recovery, increases strength and lean body mass, and increases muscle performance. Due to its importance in muscle growth and recovery, protein is especially important if you are doing any weight training. Choose easily digestible proteins before a workout so as not to upset your stomach.

Protein is vital to your post-workout diet! Exercise triggers muscle protein breakdown, and the only way to restore that muscle is by consuming protein! Consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. It is recommended to consume 0.14-0.23 g of protein per pound of body weight, depending on the type of exercise, soon after your workout. Eating about 20-40 g of protein seems to maximize the body’s ability to recover after exercise.

FATS

Similar to carbohydrates, fats get a really bad rap. However, healthy fats are very beneficial to exercise and energy production. Fat is the source of fuel for longer and moderate to low intensity exercise. Therefore, if you are doing a longer duration, not as intense workout, it is important to have fats in your body. Choose healthier, unsaturated fats options and try to decreased your saturated and trans fats. Fats consumed prior to your workout should be consumed a few hours prior so as to be digested and utilized fully. Fat takes longer to digest, and if you do not give it the appropriate time to digest, it could cause GI discomfort while working out instead of the proper energy needed.

Fat after a workout can also be beneficial! Fat can help promote muscle growth after a workout. Consuming too much fat with your post-workout meal can slow digestion of other nutrients but do not be afraid to consume fats with your post-workout meal!

HYDRATION

Something I don’t think we talk enough about in the fitness and nutrition world is hydration! It is important to consume water before, during, and after a workout! It is recommended to consume enough water prior to working out, so you are fully hydrated at the start of your workout. You should take water breaks every 15-20 minutes to sip a bit of water or electrolyte drink to stay hydrated during your workout. Replenishing your fluid loss from sweat after your workout is so important. Continue to drink water and electrolyte drinks after your workout to stay hydrated. Being dehydrated can harm performance and recovery. If you find yourself feeling really thirsty at any point… you are probably already dehydrated! So stay on top of it and keep hydrating!Hiring a certified Personal Trainer may be the best investment you make to achieve a fit, healthy, new you. Contact Jacey Gengenbach, one of the top three finalists for the 2015 trainer of the year award, at Fitness & Beyond in Omaha today. Call her at 402-502-2729 or visit the company’s website: www.fitnessandbeyondomaha.com. Follow Fitness & Beyond on Twitter, or find it on Facebook at Fitness & Beyond, LLC.