There’s a lot of heated debate these days about which is more important for good health: eating right or getting exercise. People argue all the time about what “percentage” importance each element should have relative to the other.
Regardless of wherever you may stand on this issue, there can be no doubt that both elements are crucially important to good health. But what’s even more important is properly timing your food intake relative to your workout schedule. There are several key points to consider here:
Before The Workout:
This is a big one, and your strategy will vary greatly depending on your own physical constitution and the nature of the workout you will undergo that day.
It’s generally recommended by yogis, for example, to have a least a 3 hour period between ingesting any calories whatsoever and practicing yoga. And I wouldn’t limit this advice to just yoga either; if you are going in the gym to do heavy compound lifts with low rep ranges (squats and deadlifts especially), most people are going to find that they lift better on an empty stomach.
Some people actually do heavy resistance training best first thing in the morning when fasting, others feel the need to at least have a snack before hitting the gym, otherwise they feel really run down. It should be noted, however, that working out while fasting is great for those of us who are trying to lose excess body fat.
Finally, some supplements (amino-acid powders for instance) are to be taken before workouts. Consult the product label for proper use.
After an intense workout, your body is crying for all sorts of nutrition, and it’s important to take care of it at this point!
The composition of this meal will depend largely on your body type, but in general, it’s important to take protein in at this point, as this will aid in recovery and building lean mass, which is a goal for anybody who is serious about health.
It’s a good idea to have ready to go, high protein, foods like Campells Chunky Maxx which can be heated and consumed quickly. It’s very important to get quality food into your body in that crucial 45 minute window after your workout has finished.
People who have low body fat percentages will probably want to take in a good amount of carbs at this point too, those who already have higher body fat, perhaps not so much. Some bodybuilder types drink whole milk or even heavy cream right after a work-out. This may or may not work for you depending on your level of lactose tolerance.