What to Eat Before and After High-Intensity Workouts

While it is no secret that military workouts and training regimes are some of the toughest ones out there, a lot of people still find themselves unprepared because they ignore the nutrition aspect of their training regime.

With high intensity workouts, you are going to be pushing your body to its limits and beyond, and if you are not eating the right stuff then the chances are you are not going to be able to handle it – possibly increasing your risk of injury.

The best nutrition plans, for a workout like this, will include a sufficient amount of calories and macronutrients to ensure that your body has plenty of energy for what you are going to be putting it through.

This needs to be a diet that you adopt full-time, but the most important parts of it are going to be your pre-workout meal and your post-workout meal. Two questions to ask yourself include:

  • What you are going to eat to prepare your body for the training?
  • What you are going to eat to help your body absorb the benefits?

So, let us discuss about each of those meals right now:

Pre-Workout:

Since you are about to putting your body through the ringer (so to speak), you are going to need a strong infusion of energy before you start. This means that you are going to have to get some carbohydrates, ‘carbs’, into your body.

There are two main types of carbs and it is important that you know the distinction. There are simple carbs and complex carbs. A good pre-workout meal should have a mix of both of these to ensure maximum energy.

Simple carbs are the ones that are made up of just one or two sugar molecules, for example includes lactose, fructose and maltose. You can find simple carbs in fruit, dairy products and in certain grains and vegetables.

You will digest these faster and they will provide you with a solid, quick burst of energy for your impending workout.

In contrast, complex carbs have longer chains of sugar molecules and are not digested as quickly, for example starchy vegetables, wholegrains and legumes. The benefit of these is that they are packed with fibre and they also can help to regulate your blood sugar levels as well as your cholesterol levels.

With this in mind, simple carbs will give you that important first jolt of energy that you need to start your workout, while complex carbs will help ensure that you have the energy to last all the way through your workout.

Below are some example foods that you could incorporate into your pre-workout meal:

  • Wholegrain toast;
  • Hard-boiled eggs;
  • Greek yoghurt;
  • Dried fruits;
  • Almonds;
  • Oats; and/or
  • Hummus.

Depending on what your personal preferences are, you can mix and match these foods to try and put together a meal that you will enjoy, but also one that will have that all-important mixture of simple and complex carbs.

Post-Workout:

As part of your post-workout meal you will be looking to consume both protein and carbs – protein to aid repair your muscles and carbs to replenish your energy stocks.

Here we focus on complex carbs, because at this point you no longer need the ‘sugar rush’ of the simple carbs.

A 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is a useful guide for your post-workout meal, and you should try to do this within 30-60 minutes of finishing the workout.

Here is something interesting to note: A lot of people follow the guidelines in terms of eating right for their workout but still find themselves lacking sufficient energy for their workouts.

This can happen for a number of reasons, but a cause of this problem is something that not many people know about – Candida Albicans, an opportunistic yeast. This affects many people (though more likely women) and it can cause a lot of problems such as fatigue and also more serious long-term issues.

In order to make sure that this is not something that is going to inhibit your workouts going forward, you could try to incorporate elements of an anti-candida diet into your post-workout meal.

With this in mind, below are example of foods you can should think about eating after your workout (and yes some of them also appear on the pre-workout list):

  • Tuna;
  • Chicken & Turkey;
  • Whole-wheat crackers;
  • Quinoa;
  • Peanut Butter;
  • Oats;
  • Greek Yoghurt; and/or
  • Cheese.

There are lots of foods to choose from, but you just have to make sure that you are consuming both carbs and protein, otherwise you will not see the results that you want from your workouts.

Summary

You may find a military-style workout challenging, but it will be even more difficult if you do not pay adequate attention to your diet while you are training. If you can keep a good handle on this, then you are already a couple of steps ahead.

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