A daily workout at the gym or home is an excellent way to reach certain fitness goals. It is also an excellent way to keep in shape, at a healthy weight and to ensure that your entire body performs well.
A workout can be compiled for many different purposes. Many people go to a gym and hire a personal trainer with the hopes of losing weight as the excess weight they have causes problems with their health, as well as with their self-confidence.
Other people go to the gym simply to stay fit and to maintain their weight. Some people, however, have much more specific goals when they attend the gym – this is especially true when it comes to men who wants to build lean muscle mass to gain a masculine physique.
A workout plan is not only designed to help you reach your goals but should be followed even after the goals have been reached to maintain what you have achieved – such as to maintain the lean muscle mass you have gained and avoid the muscle mass from disappearing and body fat from building up.
Nutrition’s Role In Workouts
The best diet plan, combined with an effective workout routine is two essential aspects that we need to be fully confident in our health and our bodies. The reason I mentioned “custom diet” is because a simple balanced diet would not work for everyone.
For example, if you are planning to lose weight, then you will most likely have to make adjustments in your diet and may even require an expert to compile a custom diet for you to gain the best results, combined with your workout routine.
This type of diet would be lower in substances that can make you fat and higher in healthy foods. On the other hand, a guy that wants to build muscles will require a diet that is high in carbs and proteins, as well as nutrients that are known to improve body composition and muscle mass.
A lot of people fail to realize that nutrition plays a very important role in workouts. Nutrition is, in fact, sometimes considered to be more important as the actual workout as, without a sufficient amount of certain nutrients and substances, the body is unable to perform well during your time at the gym and will be unable to effectively recover after you leave the gym.
Thus, to make the most out of your workouts, you need to consume an adequate supply of nutrients that will help you during and after your workouts – this is where pre-workout and post-workout meals come in.
Pre-Workout And Post-Workout Meals
If you want to take your fitness goals seriously, you cannot simply rely on the three meals a day rule. Instead, you need to consume additional meals or snacks before and after your workout sessions. This will help to maximize your training efforts and may even be able to help you reach your goals much faster.
If you do your planning right, you won’t even have to rely on the best diet pills to lose weight – if your fitness goals are to reduce your body fat. You will be able to use your meals to your advantage to improve your performance at the gym, thus resulting in better results.
A Calorie Counter reports that the most important substances that anyone who is following a strict workout program should consume before they start working out and after they start working out include protein and carbs – both of these substances are essential to help you get the most out of your routines. To better understand how pre-workout and post-workout meals work to give you a boost at the gym, let’s take a look at each of them – including their functions and the best choices – individually.
A pre-workout meal is a meal that is consumed before you start a workout session. This is a very important meal and should be carefully planned to give you the best set of benefits. A pre-workout meal’s main function is to provide you with a boost of energy during the entire workout session.
The goal with this meal is to reduce the rate at which protein breaks down in muscles, to reduce glycogen depletion in your muscles and to reduce cortisol levels after your workout has ended. As mentioned earlier, you need to include a sufficient amount of carbs and protein in your pre-workout meal for it to be truly effective. A pre-workout meal can be in two different forms:
- A meal that contains solid food. This type of pre-workout meal should be consumed approximately one hour before you start your workout session. It is recommended to consume approximately 0.25 grams of protein per pound of the body weight you are targeting, as well as 0.25 grams of carbs per pound of the body weight you are targeting.
- You can also choose to consume a liquid meal in the form of a shake. This should be consumed approximately 30 minutes before you start your workout routine, but can be consumed closer to the routine or even during the workout session. The protein and carb intake for this type of meal should be the same as with a solid meal.
Top 5 Pre-Workout Meals, Food Choices And Snacks
Now that you understand the importance of a pre-workout meal, what it does and what it should contain, it is time to take a look at the top five choices you can choose from when it comes to picking a pre-workout meal that is effective and can provide you with an adequate amount of protein and carbs.
- Wholewheat Toast, Peanut Butter, And Bananas – This is the perfect combination for a pre-workout snack. It packs a lot of carbs and protein in such a way that the substances are gradually released into your system throughout the entire workout. This ensures that your body does not grow weaker during your training session and ensures you do not experience fatigue while working out.
- Energy Bars With Fruits And Nuts – There are a large variety of energy bars that are specifically tailored toward workout sessions, but we find that those with fruits and nuts work best. Dried fruits and nuts, combined with the additional ingredients found in these bars, offer you a perfect combination of natural protein and carbs that will provide you with fuel throughout the entire workout session.
- Greek Yogurt With Toppings – Greek yogurt contains an excellent supply of both slow-digesting and fast-digesting proteins, which means your muscles will have an adequate supply of protein throughout your session. Simply add some toppings, such as fruit, to add some carbs. Fruit will also add fluids to reduce your fluid loss during the workout. Bananas are an excellent choice for toppings.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is one of the best pre-workout meals that can be consumed. It provides a gradual supply of sugar and also contains a lot of carbohydrates. This will ensure you stayed focused and energized throughout your entire session at the gym. Now you simply need to add some protein-rich toppings and enjoy.
- Smoothies – Smoothies are also an excellent choice if you prefer to have your pre-workout meal in a liquid, on-the-go format. Simply blend some greek yogurt, raspberries, non-fat milk and ice cubes together (or whatever you prefer in your smoothie), and you’re ready to go.
After you have completed a workout session, then you probably feel tired and sore. This is because your body has just gone through a lot of strain and should now go into recovery mode.
During the workout session, you also lost a lot of fluid and energy. Thus you are now dehydrated and suffering from a lack of energy. To help your body recover – not only from the strain that was put upon your muscles but also from the lost energy and fluids – you need to consume an effective post-workout meal to boost the recovery process.
The period after a workout session is referred to as the “anabolic phase” as it is the time when your body repairs the muscles you have worked out – this is also how you are building muscles. The goal with a post-workout meal is to reduce the levels of cortisol that were created during the workout, to enhance the overall recovery of your body, to reduce muscle fatigue and soreness, as well as to enhance the synthesis of muscle protein.
Once again, you need to consume substances that are high in both protein and carbs for a post-workout meal to be effective. A solid or liquid meal can be consumed.
It is recommended to consume substances with approximately the same quantities of protein and carbs as the pre-workout meal. You should consume around 0.25 grams of protein per pound of the body weight you are targeting, as well as between 0.25 grams and 0.5 grams of carbs per pound of the body weight you want to achieve.
Top 5 Post-Workout Meals, Food Choices And Snacks
By now you should understand why it is important to consume a pre-workout and post-workout meal. You should also understand just how important it is for your body to obtain a sufficient amount of protein and carbs after a workout to help it recover. Now, let’s take a look at some of the best choices that you can make when it comes to choosing a post-workout meal that can provide you with sufficient amounts of both substances (protein and carbs).
- Chocolate Milk – In recent years, chocolate milk has gained a lot of popularity among bodybuilders and everyone who needs an effective post-workout meal (or drink) to help their body recover from a tedious workout session. The reason why chocolate milk has become so popular is quite simple. Chocolate milk is carbs, protein, calcium, sugar, soda and fluids all in one glass – everything your body needs to recover thoroughly.
- Eggs And Oranges – This may sound like a strange combination, but hear me out. Eggs contain a lot of protein, which will help to repair your muscles at a much faster rate. If you buy organic eggs, they are also high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which means they will help reduce the damage that is caused by inflammatory responses triggered during training. The oranges are high in potassium, as well as water. This will help to rehydrate you after your workout. In the end, they are truly the perfect combination.
- Whey Protein With Tart Cherry And Ginger Smoothie – Protein is vital for improving muscle mass and recovering muscles after a workout. Ginger and tart cherries combined makes a perfect remedy for reducing muscle soreness and inflammation. Simply mix these together and (be sure to use tart cherry juice) and you’re all set.
- Protein Pancakes – Everyone loves pancakes – so why not enjoy it as a post-workout snack. This time, however, you should prepare it a little different from your regular pancakes. Mix egg whites, rolled oats, cottage cheese, vanilla extract and some baking powder. The combination means you obtain a sufficient supply of protein and carbs, plus a delicious meal.
- Tuna And Crackers – Now, what could be simpler than opening up a can of tuna and adding some crackers? This is not only a delicious post-workout meal but also packs quite a punch in the carbs and protein areas. You can add some mustard, peppers or even some chopped up pickles to spice up the flavor.
While working out regularly is important for achieving your fitness goal, the actual workout isn’t the only element that is important. To effectively work out, you need to consume a pre-workout and post-workout meal that is designed to boost your performance during the workout, as well as boost the recovery rate of your body after the workout. Once you master these two meals, you will experience a boost in your ability to reach your fitness goals at the fastest rate possible.
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