The pre-exercise meal/snack will help provide your muscles with the fuel they need to perform vigorous exercise as well as help offset any muscle breakdown. Plus it will keep you from feeling weak and lightheaded. The meal after the workout serves to supply your body with new energy that it will use to either refill its muscle glycogen stores or to repair and rebuild the damaged muscle tissues. In addition, a small meal before and after a workout greatly revs up your metabolism. If you skip this important meal you will drastically jeopardize the results you could see from your workout.
- Protein Shake (look for all natural ingredients and 50-75% carbs, 50-25% protein – I recommend IsaLean Shakes as it has all natural pre-metabolized whey protein)
- Banana with scoop of nut butter
- An easy ‘Go-to’ are a quality whey protein bar. IsaLean bars are my personal choice, they supply carbohydrates to fuel muscle but also have the highest quality whey protein and SOO convenient at 6am!
- 1 Scoop of a pre-metabolized protein powder in a water bottle with regular ol water, coconut water or almond milk
- Yogurt (not the diet or light kind) – this is actually one of my favorites.
- Banana and whole grain granola bar
- Piece of ezekial toast or bread with peanut butter or jam
- Dry whole grain cereal with fruit
*Note: Pre-Metabolized basically means it is a ready fuel source your body can immediately convert to energy!
As I said above, the post-workout meal serves to replenish muscular glycogen stores as well as to help provide the amino acids your muscles need to repair and rebuild themselves after being broken down through strength training activities. Contrary to popular belief, this meal will actually help your body burn more calories as it keeps your metabolism at peak performance. Your body burns more knowing it is not going into starvation mode. It is always best for you to try and consume this meal as soon as possible after your workout as there is a critical window of opportunity when the muscles are more receptive to taking in the nutrients. Many people choose to also consume a shake for this meal as it is easily transported to the gym so you can have it on your way out.
- WHEY protein is particularly effective at halting muscle breakdown refueling and rebuilding muscle
- Whole Grain Waggle topped with Plain Greek Yogurt and Fruit
- Tuna with whole wheat crackers or toast
- Banana with scoop of nut butter
- Greek Yogurt and Berries
- Orange and Nuts (specific, yes, a great combination)
- Quality Protein Bar (recommend IsaPro Isagenix)
- Chia Pudding (1-2 tablespoon chia seeds mixed into almond milk and thickened overnight in the fridge)
- ½ cup oatmeal with apples and cinnamon
- 2 Hard Boiled eggs with hummus and raw veggies
- Cottage Cheese and blueberries (on a slice of whole wheat or ezekial toast)
To sum up, you should consume a lean protein source, from meat or from protein powder depending on your needs and preferences and then a simple carbohydrate source.Try incorporating pre and post workout meals into your next workout. It may take some time to get used to it, but I am confident you will reap impressive results in no time. These meals are just about as important as the actual work you do in the gym in terms of the progress you are going to see – the nutritional portion is not something to take lightly.