Athletes can meet their nutritional requirements by eating balanced meals one to two hours before exercise/event and within one to two hours exercise/event. However, they have special nutritional needs as their workout routines are much different from that of a normal individual.

Different athletes have different needs depending on the type of workout they follow:

  • An endurance athlete- The workout routine is intense where one has to run miles every week. The carbohydrate and calories requirements are higher for this category of athletes.
  • Training as a bodybuilder- Weight lifting involves a lot of muscle damage and for the recovery; a high protein to moderate carbohydrate diet is required.
  • Getting ready for a fitness competition- The long and strenuous training hours can exhaust your glycogen stores and you will berequiring extra carbohydrates and proteins to get ready for your event with addition of BCAA to preserve muscle mass.

The focus should be on:

  • eliminating any nutrient deficiencies; if any
  • consuming the correct portion size according to your exercise module
  • eat according to your body type

The confusions which arise for most athletes are:

  • when to eat their Carbs;
  • when to eat their fats; and
  • What to eat in and around their workouts…

Today, we will explain in details about the pre and post workout diets and hopefully clear all the confusions.

Pre-exercise nutrition needs

Eat a meal at least three hours prior your workout. The meal should:

  • sustain energy;
  • boost your performance;
  • hydrate;
  • preserve muscle mass; and
  • accelerate recovery.

Here are a few ways to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional requirements.

Eating Protein before exercise:

Proteins provide essential amino acids to the needy cells and prevent any sort of muscle damage by boosting the synthesis of protein. Therefore, you can rest assure for positive results of gaining muscle mass.

Eating Carbs before exercise:

Carbohydrates preserve glycogen and thus increase the muscle retention. Whenever, the body requires energy, insulin is released and it converts glycogen to glucose to provide instant energy to the cells. When proteins are eaten along with Carbs, it prevents muscle breakdown.

Consuming Fats before exercise

Fats help in the slow digestion and in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K. However, keep in mind not to consume too much fat before an event/exercise as it can cause symptoms such as vomiting.

Examples of Pre-exercise snacks:

Post-exercise nutrition needs

The goals of eating after an intense workout are to:

  • recover;
  • rehydrate;
  • refuel;
  • build muscle; and
  • improve the future performance.

Protein after exercise

Eating protein after exercise prevents protein breakdown and stimulates synthesis, leading to increased or maintained muscle tissue. This is an excellent way for better recovery, adaptation, and performance.

Carbs after exercise

After a workout, unrefined Carbs along with a fruit should fulfill this macro nutrient requirement by re-building the glycogen stores except for endurance athletes who might require more carbohydrates.

Fats after exercise

Little fat should be consumed post an event or exercise as it slows down the digestion. It is preferable to consume fats after 3 hours of exercise.

Examples of Post-workout snacks: Again, here’s how men might build it:

  • 2 scoops of Whey Protein Blend powder;
  • 2 fists of vegetables;
  • 2 cupped handfuls of carbs (unrefinedwhole foods);
  • 2 thumbs of fats.