About Pre and Post Workout Meals
Pre and Post Workout Meals
This question came from Snigdha Kashyap. She tries to workout regularly but is always confused about her pre and post workout meals.
Why do we need pre and post workout meals anyway? Aren’t we taking the pains to workout- just to ‘burn out’ the already existing fat in our body, which we believe is mostly the deposit of food that we have already eaten? Then why more food? That too both before and after workout. Hmm.. Let us look at it contextually
There are days, when I wake up just in time for my yoga class, brush my teeth and haphazardly leave home, take half an hour of commute – followed by 1 and half hour of yoga class and 30 mins commute back home (mostly even more, given I mostly find people to chat ) and then drag myself home famished – take another half an hour to freshen up and fix myself a breakfast. Infact, in such a situation, sometimes I am too tired that I do not even take the pains of fixing something fresh. I shove my mouth with the dry foods – fast foods readily available in my closet, just to feel normal! End up feeling, cramp(y) and cranky both.
Dohh! Essentially, for the sake of a yoga class, which was supposed to make me feel energetic and strong, I go hungry about 4 hours after waking up – completely putting my body through a unnecessary mental and physical ordel, which on regular pursuance- can easily get me in a worse shape. Along with non willingness to workout.
Well well! I said that. I have done that many times only to figure that I pretty much wasted my time hustling. Now let us talk some logic.
What if I wake up 15 mins earlier, do some stretching – eat a banana or egg toast or drank a glass of milk and keep a box of coconut water or an apple or some almonds-raisins in my bag, which I could eat on my way back from yoga class?
Doesn’t just imagining this make life more hustle free and the body feel more vital? Exactly that is what pre and post workout meal does
The sole concept of pre and post workout meals arises from the premise that
A) Food is nothing but a source of energy coming from nutritious sources.
B) Our system needs that energy as well as those nutritions first to perform better (pre) and then to recover better (post)
C) Fitness is not just about calorie input and output. It is also about keeping the burn alive (read digestion active) which in turn keeps the metabolism strong. And for that you will have to eat regularly and not imagine of going completely out of food for a long time whatsoever.
D) Strength and tone in the body come from muscles and timely recovery of muscles for both of which, we need food. Not Hunger.
What to eat?
From the last meal before workout, you need energy to workout. Go for energy boosters. If it is a full meal then, take a gap of 1 to 1.5 hours before workout. Else banana, milk, little amount of smoothie. mini meal (egg toast, oatmeal), nuts, pankcake, flatbread etc. Though for a early morning, yoga class prefer a fruit or small glass of milk.
You need replenishment. Ideally for an average healthy individual – main meals ( lunch, dinner, hearty breakfast) are the best post workout meals. But in case, you have time to take main meal then go for some liquid which can be a protein supplement, a hydrating light electrolytic drink (coconut water, salt-lime water, strawberry or lemon infused water etc). If you are taking any dietary supplements than this is the best meal to have them with. This is also the best meal to think of nutritions that you can give to your body. Contrary to a general practice of eating whatever for the post workout meal, taking advantage of the fact that the body is in recovery (burning) mode so it will pretty much consume everything. Rather going by the same logic, take advantage of this recovery mode and body’s tendency to fully consume whatever we put into it during this mode and thus for this meal, eat something that is good for the muscles, eyes, bones, skin, hair and overall well being of you.
Hope this helps. Please keep asking questions