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Understanding the Power of Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition

meal prep in a kitchen

A fed athlete looks better and performs better. And this post will explain the power of peri-workout nutrition.

When pursuing fitness goals, whether it's gaining muscle, training for an endurance event, losing weight, or improving overall health, the significance of nutrition cannot be overstated. Pre- and post-workout nutrition play pivotal roles in optimizing performance, enhancing recovery, and achieving desired outcomes. Let's delve into why these nutritional strategies are essential components of any effective fitness regimen.


Pre-Workout Nutrition

Consider your body as a high-performance machine; just like a car, it needs fuel to operate efficiently. Pre-workout nutrition serves as the fuel that primes your body for exercise, providing the necessary energy and nutrients to power through your training session. Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for your muscles, supplying readily available energy to sustain intensity during workouts. You'll want to focus on fast-digesting carbohydrate sources (i.e. minimizing fiber) to expedite digestion time. Things like rice, rice cakes, and fruit are great options.

Additionally, protein is essential in your pre-workout meal. Protein helps to initiate muscle protein synthesis, the process crucial for muscle repair and growth. A combination of carbohydrates and protein pre-workout can enhance muscle endurance, reduce muscle breakdown, and improve overall performance. You'll want to aim for a minimum of 25g of protein in this meal and ideally this protein source is lean (whey isolate, chicken breast, shrimp, lean fish).

pre-workout meal

Hydration is another key aspect of pre-workout nutrition. Even mild dehydration can impair exercise performance and diminish endurance. Aim to drink water consistently throughout the day and consume additional fluids in the hour leading up to your workout. Electrolyte-rich beverages (Gatorade, Body Armour), electrolyte powders (Liquid IV, LMNT) or even coconut water can also help replenish electrolytes lost through sweat, maintaining proper hydration levels.


Post-Workout Nutrition

After a challenging workout, your body requires replenishment to repair damaged muscle tissues, replenish glycogen stores, and kickstart the recovery process. Post-workout nutrition is crucial for maximizing these outcomes and facilitating muscle growth and adaptation.

post-workout meal

Immediately following your workout, prioritize consuming a combination of carbohydrates and protein to initiate muscle recovery and replenish glycogen stores. Again, at least 25g of protein in this meal is ideal. This meal can contain a slightly higher fat protein source to help with satiety (lean beef, chicken thigh, or casein). This meal needs to make up about 40% of your DAILY carbohydrate needs, so you'll want to ensure a substantial amount of carbohydrates are being consumed during this meal. Higher fiber foods are okay in this meal as digestion doesn't need to be as rapid and higher fiber will help with satiety as well (whole grains, oats, beans).


meal prep in kitchen

Pre- and post-workout nutrition are integral components of a comprehensive fitness program, significantly influencing exercise performance, recovery, and results. By strategically fueling your body with the right nutrients at the right times, you can maximize your workouts, accelerate progress, and achieve your fitness goals more effectively. A fed athlete will have better results and a better body.

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