Keeping your diet balanced and interesting is really hard work. However, I have always found pre and post workout nutrition one of the easier but most effective ways to increase your overall health, improve your workout abilities and ultimately see results.
If you can get your pre and post workout nutrition right, you will be recovering better, training harder and keeping at least part of your day in a consistent routine that often rubs off into the rest of your day too! So, what do we need?
A couple hours before training we want to have a fairly normal and balanced meal. Here is where we would eat more of our SLOW digesting carbohydrates, more easily remembered as our “brown” or natural carbs. You will want a good protein source, and a bit of fat is fine in this meal. It’s really up to you how much fat you feel good with, some have said they feel energetic for longer with more fats in this meal while others may feel “heavy” or “slow” during workouts if this meal is too high in fats. Experimentation is your friend! See what works for you.
Protein: Almost any here: meats, eggs, fish, protein powders, soy-based products, quinoa, beans
Carbs: Slower digesting carbs: brown rice, oats, brown bread, sweet potato, wholemeal pasta
Meal Ideas: Chicken with rice and veg, Oats with protein powder and peanut butter, Eggs on toast
*TIP: If you’re training first thing in the morning, try to sneak some carbs in before training, something quick and easy like a banana, muesli bar, toast, protein and fruit smoothie
The post-workout window is a pretty cool place! The sooner the better for refuelling here which means we want to try to get something in within around 20 minutes of finishing our workout. We want FAST digesting protein and carbs (“white” and/or sugary carbs) and we want to try and avoid fats here as they will slow everything down so save your fats for later meals.
The reason the post-workout window is my favourite place is that IF you WERE going to eat something sugary, now is the most forgiving part of the day and your body will even appreciate it!
I won’t lie, we know it would prefer something cleaner, but if you wanted a treat, now is your best bet. So, what are some good foods to eat?
Protein: Protein shakes are an excellent choice here as they are very fast digesting and there is no cooking involved! Protein bars and cookies also work, otherwise LEAN meats such as chicken breast, white fish, turkey and low-fat option dairy like greek yoghurt or cottage cheese. Those little Chobani yoghurt sachets are delicious and easy!
Carbs: Fast digesting carbs here: white rice, white potato, white pasta, fruit juice, dried fruit, fitaid (remember this is quite low carb though), and cheeky delicious things like Powerade, Gatorade, LCM bars, lollies even!
Some of these sugary carbs can add up very quickly so make sure you don’t go overboard!
An hour or so later, follow up with a balanced meal of protein, carbs and fats. The BEST part about post-workout nutrition is that you don’t go home starving and make bad decisions while you’re waiting for your meal to be ready.
Exact amounts to eat are hard to define as it will always vary from person to person. A little experimentation will help. If you need further advice, refer to your coach, seek a nutritionist or get in contact with us and we can help.
Good luck team, start prepping those Protein shakes!
Owner / Head Coach
CrossFit Long Haul