By JOANNA AMSTELVEEN, MS,RD,CSSD,LDN
Often times we go to the gym consistently, change our workout routines before hitting a plateau, yet still cannot achieve the results we want. You are dedicated to a life of health and fitness by eating right and exercise, yet others seem to outperform you. If you are looking for a competitive edge, let’s explore how choosing the right foods at the right time can help you make the “gains” you want.
Did you know that you can get THE BEST pre and post workout foods from your refrigerator? That’s right! You don’t need fancy supplement powders, liquids or gels to achieve the most muscle protein synthesis (aka muscle gains).
Instead, invest your time and money in foods that will give you the greatest return. There are a few key principles when fueling for performance.
First, fuel appropriately beforehand to ensure you have the energy for your workout. Typically, about 30 grams of carbohydrate is enough for a 60-minute workout, depending on intensity.
Remember, foods with the least amount of ingredients work best! A great example of a pre-workout snack would be a banana and some almonds. If you find that you do not have energy to complete your workout, take a look at the carbohydrate quality and amount then consider making adjustments.
During your workout, make sure you are hydrated so your coordination, power, agility and mental acuity are at their peak. You start to see performance declines with as little as a 2% change in body weight from fluid loss.
Hydrating with water is preferred for workouts lasting 60 minutes or less. When working out for longer you can add an electrolyte beverage like Gatorade or Cera Sport to help replenish electrolytes lost through sweat. Look for something that replenishes sodium because that is the main mineral lost in sweat.
Lastly, after your workout is complete, refuel with 20-30grams of whey protein. Research has shown that whey protein is best when it comes to muscle protein synthesis. Consume this within 2 hours of your workout for optimal recovery. Consuming more than 40grams does not contribute to further muscle gains.
More is NOT better. Optimal sources of whey protein include milk products like cottage cheese, milk and Greek yogurt. You could also include recovery foods like chicken, eggs, and beef.
Focus on carbohydrates before your workout and protein afterwards. Try this for 10-12 weeks and tell me about your results.
If you want more individualized nutrition recommendations, please schedule a chat with me or reach out by email. I’d love to help you reach your performance and health goals.