Fueling your body before and after your workout
If you are doing a strenuous workout for 60 minutes or more it may be a good idea to fuel up prior and replenish after. Doing so may help to maximize your efforts while you workout as well as maximize your results following your workout. Carbohydrates and protein can be paired together as snacks both before training and after, with the before snack being carbohydrate rich and the recovery snack being protein rich.
Before exercise, a light, low-to-moderate glycemic load snack providing 75 – 150 calories, consumed one to two hours prior to exercise, may provide a needed energy boost if you have not eaten in the past three to four hours. This pre-exercise snack generally comprises a 2-to-1 to 4-to-1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio. For example, a 120 calorie snack following a 2-to-1 ratio would contain 20g of carbohydrates and 10g of protein.
Following your workout you have a 15 – 30 minute window to replenish what you have burned! A great snack should include a combination of carbohydrates and protein. The purpose of the carbohydrate after a workout is to replace the muscle fuel (glycogen) utilized during the workout. The protein will help stimulate the development of new muscle tissue. Carbohydrate quantity recommendations suggest 1.0 g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight (0.45 kg / lb.) ingested within the first hour. As for protein, many studies agree that a threshold level of 20 grams appears to exist within the body in recovery.
Adapted from NASM nutrition
Fabio Comana MA, MS, NASM-CPT, CES & PES; ACE CPT & HC; NSCA CSCS; ACSM HFS, CISSN, Exercise Physiologist and Faculty Instructor – SDSU, UCSD & NASM