What to Eat Before and After Training!
- 3 tactics to snacking success
- The truth about long hours, training and eating
January is certainly looking like a month where everyone is saving rather than going out and about. Even from walking through Stirling yesterday evening I could tell it was quieter than usual.
The last few weeks have been a change of pace for me – working full time hours, commuting and trying to find time for social activities (besides squeezing in the gym!). It all adds up and even Eating can be become a challenge.
For example, last week I ended up cycling to the gym after I finished work (which is the other side of town).
At the moment, I’m aiming for a realistic 3 gym sessions per week so I can maintain my strength. My plan is to change to a gym closer but that will happen in a few weeks.
Trying to organise everything for a new job is tough enough let alone meal planning and keeping my fitness up. Time management is a huge part of my life at the moment.
Furthermore, with being unable to guarantee what time I’ll be eating, it’s vital that I’m ready for the gym (especially if I have a cycle prior to it).
As a side note, the Highland council gym that I’m a member at is fantastic. Fully equipped and plenty of space mean I don’t waste time waiting for kit (not that I do anyway as I’ll alternate my routine if necessary – the joys of being a PT).
If you haven’t already, the RYPT website offers a free Lifestyle, Exercise and Nutritional Evaluation (without even leaving your desk!) it’s quick and simple with PERSONALISED feedback from me. I’d recommend visiting it (www.RYPT.info)
Anyway, here is my advice for what to eat before and after a workout session (even if you cycle to the gym).
1) Have a Plan
In this case, it’s not always about knowing what you’ll eat but it’s about knowing that you have food to eat!
My bag is packed with snacks and main meals.
In my opinion, it’s vital to get the energy in before you undertake any physical exercise.
I notice a huge difference in my energy and strength when I have nothing to eat prior. I’m unable to lift the same weight for anywhere near as long. My aim this year is to ultimately keep strength (even if I train less) and that will be difficult.
In my opinion, a cereal bar isn’t the healthiest but if it a) helps me through a workout and b) gives me some kind of strength gain then I’m happy.
A workout will always be better than avoiding it (sometimes even if this means that nutrition isn’t spot on).
Depending on hunger, I may have a bar before I train or even split it. In an ideal world I would train mid morning after a breakfast of protein and carbs. I know this works for giving me a boost but not necessarily for everyone.
My philosophy is to be flexible: physical activity is important and I know that healthy food is not always available when we need it.
Food is not all about taste: yes, it’s a primary consideration but there is far more to it.
Health, energy, motivation, need and greed are all aspects that determine our choice.
This could work conversely too with lack of health and lack of energy influencing our decisions.
Prior to working out / training (if you’re looking at it from a cardio perspective) my main motives are energy, need and sometimes greed! I’m not going to lie, health can be down the list. If I don’t have time to eat a meal, then it will be a biscuit, bar or something like that.
It’s not necessarily that decision that will determine my overall health for the today because getting a training session in is a big positive for me. Although as my metabolism changes, I may view this differently.
Your nutrition plan should be consistent with your goals overall and as I say: “there no such thing as bad food, just bad choices.”
Being mindful of your overall choices and health longer term is vital but physical activity is crucial too.
Get the right perspective and find what works for YOU. RYPT is all about working in consultation with you: that means workouts designed on the app are time sensitive, work around you and nutrition is designed WITH your input.
3) Find Shortcomings
We all know where we struggle!
For me, I know that long days really test my hunger and energy.
On the other hand, cycling to work has helped immensely: by doing more, I feel more energised (even if my sugar levels fluctuate).
I’m an advocate of whole foods and ensuring that you have the nutritional basics in place. As much as possible, this will help prevent a reliance on supplements.
I do accept that in some circumstances, nutrition is tough and supplements do work for people. This is where consultation and working with you makes the difference.
There are so many supplements out there and I would recommend a health review first before looking into them. If you are going down that route I would advise checking www.examine.com for a neutral, scientific evaluation of supplements.
Fruits can be used for a natural energy boost however, even more powerful is having a weekly plan for your shopping.
I’m as guilty as anyone of not taking time to plan ahead with my shopping. This results in multiple visits to the supermarket and a huge bill.
Looking ahead will save you time and money.
A full cupboard is certainly one way to resist the temptations of phoning a takeaway! Small things like this will make a massive difference to your nutrition overall.