Your busy day at work warranted no time for an afternoon snack before the gym. Midway through your cycling workout, you bonk. You have no energy to continue.
Or, you have to rush to an appointment after a workout session. There is not a minute available to down a post-workout shake. For the rest of the day, you feel unbelievably fatigued.
If you wish to reap benefits from your workouts, you must take your nutrition seriously. The science of nutrient timing suggests that what you eat before, during and after a workout is a critical key not only to achieve performance and strength goals, but also to boost general health.
There are three phases of nutrient timing:
- The Energy Phase is just before and during a workout.
Consume a snack within the two hours before your workout that contains a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Some great examples include:
- 1 ½ Tablespoons of almond butter on a piece of whole grain toast
- 1 sliced apple and 8 ounces of yogurt
- 1 cup of berries and ¼ cup of walnuts or almonds
During your workout, don’t forget an electrolyte drink like coconut water.
- The Anabolic Phase is the 45 minutes after a workout.
After you work out, in order to refuel, you have what is referred to as the “anabolic window,” a mere 45 minutes! If you do not take advantage of this window, you will be sore and fatigued. After non-intense workouts, consider a banana or a rice cake with almond butter. For more intense workouts, opt for something with more protein, such as a Kind Bar, a berry smoothie with whey protein, or even an 8-ounce glass of chocolate milk.
- The Growth Phase is the remainder of the day.
For the remainder of the day, be sure to choose healthy, lean proteins and fats, plenty of fruits vegetables, and some whole grains. Some excellent meal options include:
- 4-5 ounces of grilled chicken breast with 1 cup of steamed veggies and ½ cup of quinoa
- 3/4 cup of oatmeal with 1 cup of berries and 1/4 cup of pistachios
Get serious about your workouts—make nutrient timing a priority.