Nutrition is important in any workout program, a proper diet can help lose weight or gain muscle mass depending on what is expected of a workout and nutrition plan. Which supplements and which foods are best for what effect...
Exercise is an important factor in maintaining the desired body weight, however it is only half the equation, the other half is made up of diet and nutrition. Determining exactly what foods to use before and after a workout session, weather it is aimed at losing weight or gaining muscle mass can be complicated. Depending on what effect is desired, different dieting strategies are applied. Strength training and fitness require different nutritional basis to achieve the most effect, and some supplements can also be employed to help speed up the desired effect (losing weight or gaining muscle mass).
BEFORE AND AFTER WORK OUT FOOD
People often associate having a fit and muscular body with hours of strenuous exercise, something like hours of running or lifting weights at the gym. Although this is true, it is not the whole truth. The other half is nutrition and diet. Without proper diet, the effects of work out might not even present themselves, or will take longer and more hard work to do so.
The body requires many nutrients, both micro and macro. Combining and timing foods while working out can significantly influence the type of result you will get, but keeping track of it all can be a little overwhelming. More protein, less protein, more carbs, vitamins… Here we will attempt to give you an easy guide to what to eat before and after work out to get the effect you want.
MUSCLE GAIN AND STRENGTH WORK OUT
If you're working out to gain lean mass and increase the size of your muscle, one thing should be on your mind: protein. Proteins are, in short, the building blocks of the body. Their primary role in the diet is to be absorbed and built in the body where needed. In case of strength exercise, the places where proteins are needed most are the muscles. However, working out and constructing muscles requires energy. Energy comes from all macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrate), but the primary source of energy for the body is carbohydrates. If there isn't enough energy while working out, the body will either slow down the building of muscle, or start digesting protein for energy, which is something you want to avoid at all costs. So, what all this means is that you will have to increase the amount of carbs and blood sugar BEFORE workout, and increase the intake of easily absorbable protein AFTER work out.
Before: you might consider some slowly digested carbohydrate with enough fiber to regulate the absorption of sugars into the blood stream. Consider whole wheat toast with some jelly, dried or fresh fruit (preferably bananas, apples, pears, berries…). Try to avoid energy drinks or sweets containing a lot of plane sugar and little fiber, because it will be absorbed and digested too rapidly. If you do not have the time to prepare all this food, you might consider supplements. Passion Projects has several products that can serve as excellent supplements for nutrition before workout. One that we suggest is Complex Berry because it contains both very useful fruits, as well as lots of fiber.
After: after work out food is arguably the most important part of strength exercise. Immediately after work out it is recommended that you consume a fair amount of easily digestible protein, as it will immediately begin to be absorbed and assimilated into your muscle. If taking supplement protein, this would be the time to take it. Many protein supplements exist on the market; one standing out from the competition is Passion Projects Certified Organic Raw Pea Protein. It contains an excellent profile of easily absorbable amino-acids as well as some very beneficial additional nutrients.
LOSING WEIGHT AND FITNESS TRAINING
If you are interested in losing weight and are working hard at the gym, track or mill to melt some fat away, then you need a wholly different approach to before and after work out diet in contrast to muscle gain. What you want to do is melting fat, but keep muscle mass. This requires starving the body of nutrients and yet providing just enough protein to keep the body from starting to eat into its own muscle. Avoid carbohydrate both before and after work out. Quickly digestible protein and a bit of complex carbs are recommended before work out. Try to steer clear of eating anything for at least an hour after work out, and try to eat protein after that. That will force your body to use up all the blood sugar and then turn to fat stores for energy, which will result in melting fat.
Before: Dairy like yogurt and milk contain protein and a bit of carbohydrate and are easily absorbed by the body. Nuts contain a lot of energy in both protein and carbohydrate form, but they should be eaten in small amounts, 50-80 grams of most nuts is enough to satisfy your before work out needs. Non-starchy vegetables are also recommendable, as they contain little carbohydrate and a lot of fiber. A nice garden salad with a few nuts and chunks of cottage cheese may be the ideal before work out meal if you're trying to lose weight. A supplement you might consider for before workout should contain lots of fiber, to bind the carbs and force the body to expend its own energy. Passion projects Complex Green and Triple Green contains lots of fibers as well as many beneficial nutrients that can help lose weight if used before workout.
After: As already stated, try avoiding anything for up to an hour after work out. You might feel strained and exhausted, even starved, but that period directly after work out is the most important to stimulating your body to start digesting fat stores. After about an hour has passed consider eating a low calorie meal with a bit higher protein content, however it should be lower than the protein contend required by those performing strength exercise. Some grilled vegetables and a piece of lean meat; especially fish, soy or seitan could be a good after work out meal.