Personal Trainer: “It matters what you eat before and after your workout.”
Client: “Oh, it does?”
Absolutely! Nutrition plays a huge role in muscle recovery and development. If you have been committed to a solid workout routine but your nutrition is lagging behind, you are inhibiting your progress. In other words, if you are working out but eating badly, you might as well be walking backwards. What you eat is just as important as exercising. The foods you intake before and after that great sweat session will play a huge role in your recovery and muscle growth process.
Building muscle and gaining strength requires sufficient and consistent nutrition and fitness habits. No matter what your goals are, both what you eat and your activity level can be adjusted to help achieve those milestones.
Post Recovery After your workout, eating a mix of carbohydrates and protein will stimulate a higher insulin (insulin regulates the amount of glucose or sugar in your blood and allows the blood glucose to get into muscles to fuel muscles and replenish) response than eating carbohydrates alone. So instead of just Gatorade, for example, drinking chocolate milk is much more efficient at refueling your depleted muscle glycogen. For the biggest muscle recovery boost, aim for a combo of healthy protein and carbs within 30 minutes to an hour after your workout. During this time, shoot for 1 gram of carbs per kilogram of bodyweight and around 20 grams of protein.
Pre-Workout Your body converts carbohydrates into glucose. During an intense gym session, your body can tap those glycogen stores to create glucose, which your cells use to power through your workout. Carbohydrates help with ensuring adequate calories and energy to fuel training sessions while fat is not particularly anabolic like protein and carbs can be; but fats provide calories and help support hormone levels. All of your macronutrients - protein, carbs and fat - play a role in your post and pre-workout recovery and energy.
Muscle Repair Foods If you are wondering what healthy carbs and proteins look like, we have a list of some of the best right here:
Salmon - High in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA; may help lower inflammation and reduce exercise-induced muscle damage
Bananas - Good source of potassium, a mineral that regulates your heartbeat and helps with proper muscle function.
Avocado - One avocado can contain up to 4 g of protein; rich in folic acid (aka vitamin B9), which plays an important role in absorbing protein.
Sweet Potatoes - Contain Vitamin C and copper, which keep muscle fibers flexible and aid in muscle growth and repair.
Berries - Blueberries are a good source of vitamins and minerals (vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese) known to boost immunity; raspberries are great for reducing inflammation.
Greek Yogurt - Greek yogurt has all the essential amino acids with fluid properties that cause your body to digest it faster, supporting muscle growth.
Cottage Cheese - Has 14 grams of protein and 3 grams of carbs per half cup, perfect for muscle recovery.
Chia Seeds - Aiding in muscle recovery, Chia seeds are packed with protein, a macro nutrient essential for helping to repair and rebuild muscles.
Protein Bars - Your favorite protein bars are great to eat after your workout. They deliver a good amount of protein to your muscles, helping with muscle recovery and growth.
Trainers Spot has personal trainers who can help you stay accountable with your healthy eating habits, plus we offer a life-changing 180 Together program which offers weekly nutritional coaching from Gray Nutrition, 6-weeks of strength training, InBody body composition scans and stretching. Contact us today to learn more and get with a personal trainer who is perfect for you!