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Eat Before Or After A Workout?

# Eating Before A Workout

Ideally, you should be eating 3 or 4 hours before you work out. This will give you time to digest your food and supply you with energy for your upcoming workout – if you eat a hefty meal an hour before you lift the weights, your food won’t be fully digested and you may feel sluggish. You should be eating complex carbohydrates, fast-acting protein, and veggies before your workout. Carbohydrates are needed because they are your body’s primary fuel source. When you work out, your glycogen levels are depleted, and having enough carbs will make sure they won’t be depleted fully. If you only have about 1 hour until you have to work out, it would be beneficial to drink at least a protein drink or eat some almonds and fruit. Working out on a completely empty stomach will most likely leave you not feeling your best, but eating too soon before a workout will make you feel sluggish. You also will want to have a source of protein before your workout, because the protein will increase your resting energy expenditure by an average of 6-6.5% and also blunt your cortisol throughout the day. Also, if you work through your carbohydrate reserve while working out, it will start to chip away at your protein reserve. If you have no protein, then it starts attacking your muscle – which is not good if you’re trying to grow them. Some bodybuilders also take creatine and beta alanine before a workout.

# Eating After A Workout

Contrary to what it usually believed, when you work out you aren’t growing your muscles. What you are actually doing is tearing them down. The healing process is where muscle growth comes from. When your muscle breaks down, it will always grow back stronger, but you need the proper nutrients for it to grow fully and healthily. You want to eat proteins, complex carbohydrates, and veggies after your workout. You’re also going to want to eat your meal within the hour of working out because your muscles begin the recovery process quite soon after working out. You are going to especially want protein because protein is needed for the repair and growth of tissues. Since your body is always breaking down proteins, your diet must provide enough protein. Protein after a workout is helpful to jump start muscle recovery, growth and repair. One reason whey protein is used very commonly is because it digests quicker than normal, it is abundant in BCAAs, it’s very bio-available, and has a perfect PDCAA score (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid). To take it to the next level, take both whey and casein protein after a workout for a great protein shake after your workout. You want at least 20-40grams of protein after a workout. Carbs are also important because after a workout, more than likely your blood sugar and glycogen levels will be low. Eating carbs will replenish both of them and help you to speed recovery. I personally believe eating a meal after a workout is most important because it gives your muscles the proper fuel to recover.

So, it’s good to eat both before and after a workout. Nutrition is just so important in the fitness world and should never be neglected. Remember, the key to building muscle and a healthy body is 75% diet and 25% exercise. You need to exercise to shape and grow your body stronger, but without the proper diet your muscles won’t be getting the nutrients they need to properly grow how you want them to. Even if you are working your butt off in the gym, if you aren’t eating properly at the right times, you’ll notice little muscle growth, joint problems, and even getting weaker in the gym! Make sure to supply yourself properly before you head into the gym and create your best self.