It’s important to know which foods to eat and when, before and after workout for fat loss and muscle gain. I’ll share my best tips I’ve learned during training myself and others here.
The pre workout meal should consist of protein, carbs and fats. It should be a good, balanced meal. It shouldn’t be later than 2-3 hours before workout. Don’t workout on empty stomach as studies show it doesn’t affect on how much calories you burn, and you’re likely to be too tired to exercise vigorously and end up having crazy appetite after workout.
Don’t eat too close to exercise because your stomach will feel stuffed and you may feel nauseous as you start moving, and the blood will be pumping to your stomach to process all the food and not your muscles. At the same time, if you’re feeling hungry eat a small snack like banana or half of protein bar.
During exercise, you can have BCAA’s and water of course.
After exercise, it is your choice to have a protein shake or just eat a normal meal. Having protein shake right after exercise doesn’t increase the amount of muscle you gain; the research shows that what matters the most is how much protein you eat in your day. Sometimes you need a little snack and not a big meal after exercising, so that’s when protein shake or bar will work great.
When to eat after workout? I remember when I was starting my fitness journey I thought you must wait few hours for fat loss. Then I’d end up so hungry (my workouts weren’t a walk in the park) that I felt I ate way more than I would if I’d ate right after workout. After years of training I realized that even if, how some claim, your body is still burning more fat after exercise and before you eat, it’s so insufficient that it’s better to watch what you eat instead and that will bring more results. You may not feel like eating soon after workout and from digestive health point, it may be good to wait a little to let things get calm and digest food better (unless you did yoga).
The best foods to eat after workout is anything that contains protein and carbohydrates. You can have some lean meats, greek yogurt, eggs, and complex carbs like rice, potatoes, whole grain bread, also fruit. You can have some fats as well but at this point it’s not as important.
Drink lots of water and if you exercise in a hot weather, you can also have some Gatorade or BCAA’s that contain sodium. If you workout in normal conditions, have BCAA’s without sodium to avoid extra salt and bloating afterwards.