How to time something to eat and your training session. It feels like a some what hard question to answer. Right?
Do I eat before?
Should I have a snack or a meal?
What’s too close to my workout?
What will give me enough energy, but not make me feel gross?
The answer, sadly will probably be a bit frustrating and I am sorry, but the answer is it all depends.
You’ll want to play around with it a bit. My hope is that by the end of this post you’ll have a better idea of how to fuel your body to sustain you while you’re training and how to refuel after you’ve finished your training.
Why we say training and not working out.
1) Training covers many areas and disciplines where you are working on changing, improving and meeting goals.
2) Training also, regardless of what type of movement, has a focus on progress: more repetitions of a movement, doing a movement under more load or even with [controlled] increased speed.
3) Training is also a practice, it evolves over time.
Power Up Your Training
Let’s chat about when to eat before you go to your training sesh.
You’ll definitely want to have something before you train. However the time between eating and training will somewhat let you know if you’ll want a meal (whatever you classify that as) or a snack.
Other factors to consider is also how you tolerate food in your system while training. This will sort of be something that you’ll have to play around with and adjust as you over time.
Here are some suggestions to try.
- If less than an hour before training, a very small meal or snack would be a good thing to try-depending on your hunger. You’ll want to prioritize protein. Here are some examples: greek yogurt, hummus and veggies, protein bar, small sandwich with veggies and turkey or a small bowl of meat soup.
- If you have more than an hour and even closer to two hours a meal is probably a better power up options. Again, you’ll want to prioritize protein: Chicken, rice and veggie stir-fry, quinoa and veggie stir-fry or a veggie egg scramble for example.
- For more ideas on proteins or even meal ideas this article has a great infographic.
You’ll want to eat enough to feel like you’ve fueled up to perform the needed movements in your training session, but not so much that you feel super stuffed.
Ohfff, no one likes that feeling.
Refuel Post Training
After your training session it’s also good to have some food to replenish the energy you used. This could be a snack or a meal, depending on the timing of your training and when you normally have meals. The important thing being to eat something to help fuel the muscles to do their rebuilding and repairing after your training session.
You certainly don’t need to eat a burger as the above photo shows, but, just like eating something before training, you’ll want to prioritize protein. This means you’ll want the serving of protein to be a little bigger than you might normally eat. Protein is the energy that speaks and feeds your muscles-and regardless of what type of movements you’ll be doing in your training session-you’ll be using your muscles!! 💪
Here are some food combos you could try
- If the timing makes more sense for you to have a snack you could have some cottage cheese and some fruit and/or veggies, a protein shake, jerky and some fruit, trail mix or nutter butter with some bread or veggies and fruit.
- If you’re feeling hungry enough for a meal or it’s about your meal time, then get your eat on! Examples of prioritizing protein in your meal are: tempeh and veggie stir-fry, chicken sandwich with veggie and some potatoes, greek yogurt with granola, a large salad with some chicken, hard-boiled eggs or tuna and grains.
- If you want a little more guidance, this link has photos of different plates showing portions of the plate for anytime meals, post training meals and vegetarian meal options.
Putting it Together
I thought providing a sample might be useful. So here is an example from one of my days.
- Wake up
- Drink a chocolate protein shake (here’s the one I love-it’s vegan)
- 10-30 minutes later I begin my fitness training-the time lapse to let the shake settle and depends on the day and travel time to get to where I am fitness training.
- About 15-45 minutes post training session (time lapse depends on the day, includes a shower, and how long it takes to prepare my meal) I prepare and eat breakfast. Breakfast generally is a veggie, lentil and egg scramble or greek yogurt with some granola, berries, nuts, chia and coconut flakes. In the winter when it’s cold I have oatmeal instead of yogurt and my oatmeal is with nuts, chia, flaxseed, açaí powder, berries and cinnamon.
- Additionally if I was going to train a circus discipline (which currently I am not as I just opened a fitness business, but when I did) I would go and do that generally an hour to an hour and a half post breakfast, but for me I needed to have a small snack to fuel the training. I generally ate some toast with peanut butter or an apple with peanut butter.
- After training my circus discipline(s), I would go home and eat lunch. My lunch is pretty much the same all the time, I’m boring, but I like it-it’s a large salad with lentils and a side of cottage cheese and sometimes a sweet potato.
Let us know if you have any questions about fueling your training sessions, we’re happy to connect.
Happy training and eating!