Pre Workout Versus Post Workout Nutrition – What’s More Important?
Firstly you need to ensure you are getting the right levels of macro and micronutrients in your daily diet before you consider pre and post workout nutrition. Once you’ve got this right then you can consider the meals directly surrounding your workout.
In my opinion, both pre and post workout meals are equally important. What you eat before your workout is what fuels your energy. What you eat after your workout is what aids your body in part of its recovery. Pre workout, your body needs fuel (carbs, protein, fats) to give you energy for your workout, in order to reduce the depletion of muscle glycogen stores, muscle protein breakdown and post workout cortisol levels.
Therefore depending on your goals and lean muscle mass weight I would suggest 1-3 hours prior to your workout consuming a meal consisting of around 0.15-0.25 grams of protein and carbs per pound of lean muscle mass to provide optimal energy and performance for your workout. Protein sources such as chicken, fish, eggs and turkey preferably avoiding red meat which takes longer for the body to digest.
You could consume a meal closer to your workout, however you need to ensure it is a faster releasing protein such as whey and higher GI carbohydrate such as fruit to ensure faster digestion pre workout.
Post workout muscles are damaged and depleted. Research has shown that within an hour after you workout muscles are biochemically primed for nutrient uptake. Again depending on your goals and lean muscle mass weight I suggest consuming 20-40 grams of protein to help aid muscle recovery and repair and 30-50 grams of carbs to replenish glycogen stores maximising protein synthesis.
Most commonly the protein source would be from a fast digesting protein such as whey. ‘What whey protein do I choose?’ you may ask, there is a huge range of whey proteins available. Whey concentrate is the generally the slowest digesting and usually cheapest, then there is whey isolates, furthermore there is hydrolysed whey, which is generally the most expensive of the three. Egg whites can also be a fantastic and more natural source of protein post workout if you didn’t want to spend the big bucks on whey, which is quite often just a placebo.
So we’ve established that pre and post workout meals are equally important. However, if you have reached your preferred level of lean muscle mass and are wanting to decrease your body fat levels then extra FAT BURNING cardio is not always possible and fortunately it isn’t always the answer. You can achieve a 10% body fat or lower with just an hour work out a day through diet and by adapting your training regime. This is where pre and post workout nutrition gets even more important.
So ultimately pre and post workout are both as important however it’s what your pre and post workout nutrition consists of that is more important and its your goals that will determine the nutritional content.
By Steve Harrison
Premier Training International
Interested in learning more? Check out Premier’s range of courses on nutrition at
www.premierglobal.co.uk/nutrition or call 0845 1 90 90 90.