The overload of info online in regards to what you should be eating, how you should be eating it, for what, and when can be pretty overwhelming to say the least. For a long time, wanting to optimize my workouts and wanting to support my body with the proper fuel before and after, left me wondering "what's the right answer? What exactly am I supposed to do?"
Your hard work at the gym can be totally offset if proper nutrition is neglected. Below are some general SIMPLE guidelines to help support your efforts.
Pre-workout nutrition really depends on what kind of activity your doing and when you're doing it.
Give your body something to run on, but don't eat anything too heavy right before a work out. Give yourself an hour or two to digest after heavier meals before getting to it.
I like to include a healthy fat like coconut oil, nuts, seeds (or a nut butter), or avocado to my pre-workout snack for some sustained, slow burning energy. Balance it out with carbohydrates in the form of fruit, vegetables, or a sprouted whole grain along with a clean source of protein. Nuts and seeds are great because they are a good source of fat and protein!
When it comes to early morning workouts, there is always the issue of not having time to digest before your workout begins. Here are a few options that I find helpful:
Firstly, hydration is important.. staying hydrated is always important..but especially if you workout and sweat a lot. Before early morning workouts, I have a tall glass of water with squirt of lemon, a splash of maple syrup and a sprinkle of sea salt. Think of this as your super clean homemade gatorade. It's a great way to wake up your body and provide a bit of energy before a quick workout (less than 1 hour). Keep your eyes peeled for my recipe post later this week featuring two DIY Electrolyte Drinks. I find this drink will sustain me for a quick cardio sesh or some HIIT (high intensity interval training) - which is often no longer than 30 minutes in length.
However, if I'm doing something a little longer or something like resistance training, even if it's early, I like to get a little food in me before I start to avoid putting any blood sugar stress on my liver. Half a banana with some nut butter, a little piece of toast with coconut oil and honey, or coconut milk blended with some protein powder and coconut oil will usually be enough. Depending on the day, sometimes I find my Charged Up Chia drink with a scoop of coconut oil blended in will keep me going for a longer workout too.
In any case, YOU know your body best so it's best to experiment and see what suits you best.
Make sure you supply your body with the building blocks it needs to restore your energy, to build and to repair muscles quickly after a workout. A combination of carbs and protein are important to have ideally, within 30 minutes after working out.
Exercise creates oxidative stress in the body which can actually put some stress on your immune system. It's important to ensure the food you refuel with after a workout is clean and as nutrient packed as possible. For this reason, I am a big fan of having an antioxidant packed protein smoothie.
Below I have shared one of my favourite post-work out meals for days when you just don't feel like another smoothie. This recipe is actually so so good, and it's really quick to make!
Sweet Potato & Goat Cheese Scramble
This scramble is awesome after a workout. The carbohydrates from the sweet potato and veggies along with the protein from the eggs and goat cheese make a really delicious, nutritive combination.
- 1/2 sweet potato
- 2 eggs
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 little handful of onion
- organic goat cheese
- spices: sea salt, turmeric and cayenne pepper
- coconut oil
- Optional: a green veggie (broccoli goes well)
- Heat your skillet and melt 1 tbsp of coconut oil
- In a food processor coarsely chop onion, sweet potato, and garlic
- Add to hot skillet and add spices to taste
- Whisk together your eggs
- Pour egg over the vegetables and scramble
- Near the end add in some goat cheese
If you like spicy stuff, hot sauce will take this to the next level. So. Good.
Let me know how you like it by leaving a comment below!