In this week's blog, we discuss pre, intra and post-workout nutrition as well as the importance of carbohydrates.
When most people hear the word carbohydrates, they likely think about foods that digest poorly, make then feel heavy and bloated, and inherently cause weight gain. However, these are ideas that can be easily disproven, as it really comes down to the food choices and amounts of calories consumed. In fact the opposite is true: carbohydrates are extremely important for a healthy and well-performing body, especially when it comes to exercise. This is where pre, intra, and post-workout nutritional knowledge can help with optimizing your performance both in the gym and out of it when you're focused on recovery.
Carbohydrates - Why Are They Important?
Through continued research on carbohydrates and their role in fitness, there’s really no denying the importance of carbs when it comes to muscle growth and performance.
Carbs are the fuel to our fire, our body’s favorite source of energy. Carbohydrates are stored in the muscle cells as glycogen, which is what provides the quick energy needed for exercise.
Additionally, carbs are a protein-sparing nutrient which means as long as you have carbs available, your body won’t start breaking down muscle tissue for energy. Obviously, this makes carbs a very important part of your diet if you want to maintain or build muscle.
If you want to perform at your best and recover well, take into account that the number of carbohydrates you consume will play a major role in your workouts. Once you’ve nailed down the basics of a healthful lifestyle such as sleeping at least 7 hours, eating protein and veggies throughout the day, and managing stress, it will be easier to focus on what your body needs pre, intra, and post- workout.
Fuel Your Workouts
Carbs and protein can be consumed in one, two, or all three of these windows, depending on your training and personal goals.
Pre-workout carbohydrates + protein include anything eaten in the timeframe of about two hours to 30 minutes before your training session.
The primary purpose of your pre-workout meal is to fuel your training. Consuming carbohydrates and protein pre-workout to top off your glycogen stores will allow for high-intensity workouts and will also support better muscle contractions. The leaner you are and the harder you’re performing, the more important carbs and protein become.
When we have a lot of weight to lose, we already have nutrients stored in our body which makes things like how much you take in much more of a priority. But as you get further into your fat loss journey, this becomes more crucial for great workouts.
- One to two hours before your workout eat a meal with protein and carbs, little to no fat
- Quick digesting carbs: Bananas, baked potato, rice (stay conscious of meal size)
- Hydration: water, caffeine: coffee, Prolific
Consuming carbohydrates during your workout – typically liquid carbs. So adding in intra-workout carbohydrates can be useful to support performance for longer, more intense workouts or endurance activities.
Intra-workouts are not always necessary and use is typically dependent on the duration and intensity of exercise. For example, intra-workouts would be very useful during workouts longer than 60 minutes or a CrossFit competition with multiple events.
The intra-workout can help provide additional energy and urge your body to continue using carbohydrates as fuel instead of storing and conserving energy and becoming fatigued. Be sure to remember that if you are tracking macros make sure to take into account the carbs in these drinks.
Carbohydrates and protein consumed after you have finished training are very important. The goal of your post-workout nutrition is to calm the stress response from training, kick-start the recovery process, and avoid a breakdown of nutrients.
- Protein is going to repair and rebuild muscles (Select Protein Powder or greek yogurt)
- Carbohydrates will refuel your body (banana or fruit mix of berries)
- Hydrates replenish electrolytes used up
Total carbohydrate + protein consumption will vary depending on the individual, current lifestyle, exercise routine, and future goals.
Follow Memories Over Macros on Instagram for more helpful tips!
Supplements to help
Don’t forget… use discount code: aubrie to get 15% OFF your orders! From PEScience:
- The pre-workout powerhouse that covers the full spectrum of the ultimate workout experience, from energy and focus, to performance and pump. Prolific will hit you like the first time, every time, making it the last preworkout you'll ever need, without ever feeling that tingly itchy skin. Deliciously flavored and mixes easily.
- Amino IV delivers BCAAs, EAAs, electrolytes, and taurine. Since 2013 we have understood the importance of consuming EAAs alongside BCAAs, and through our careful processes have designed the flavors to be extremely refreshing and thirst-quenching. Amino IV is most often used during training sessions, whether it be as a source of electrolytes, or a way to stay hydrated in place of a typical carbohydrate-loaded sports drink.
- Ultra-Clean Carbohydrate
- Low Glycemic Index
- Fast Gastric Emptying
- Slow Digesting
- Mixes Easily | Neutral Taste
- The Versatile Carbohydrate!