What to Eat Before and After Lifting Weights
Have you ever wondered what to eat before and after weight lifting to receive maximum results? I know I have. I'm always fascinated by nutrition and how it can benefit my health or be detrimental to it.
I always wondered about which foods could positively impact my physique, especially after weight lifting. Weight lifting is a type of workout that I really enjoy, it is something that takes proper technique, concentration, and strength. I constantly seek out foods that would help increase my concentration and strength to improve my technique and make me a better lifter. After doing some research, I've gathered a few tips and easy recipes that could help you become better and stronger lifters.
Experts say that a healthy lifestyle depends more on what you eat than exercise. The balance between the two is ideal, but if you were going to choose diet or exercise, diet would be the better choice. Food is essential for life and it is capable of making us stronger, faster, smarter and overall healthier. It is extremely important that we eat the right foods when we are working out, so that we receive the maximum benefits from that workout. Below, are the 4 things to eat before and after weight lifting.
Before Weight Lifting
Before a weight lifting session you want to consume carbohydrates and lean proteins at least an hour before your workout (or else you might get some bad cramps).
Carbohydrates are your BFF before a workout because it will give your body the energy you need to power through your workout. But don't eat just any carb, you want a complex carbohydrate that is low on the Gylcemic Index. Complex carbohydrate takes your body longer to digest, therefore you will have longer lasting energy.
Protein is important before a workout because it fuels your muscles and jump starts protein synthesis. According to BodyBuilding.com, "Adding protein prior to your training session primes the pump: It starts protein synthesis during rather than after your training session."
Here are two things to eat before weight lifting!
Examples of Foods to Eat Pre Workout
This is a simple meal that covers all the bases before your workout! It includes whole wheat toast (complex carbohydrate), avocado (a healthy unsaturated fat), and eggs (kick starts protein synthesis).
The avocado and egg toast that I make contains: 2 slices of whole grain toast, 1/2 of an avocado mashed and spread over the toast, and 2 scramble eggs. Add salt and pepper and you have a masterpiece !
Another fabulous pre workout snack are energy bites! These are amazing because it requires NO cooking and takes about 30 minutes to make. These bites usually contain all the necessary nutrients you need before you hit the weights.
The recipe that I use is my moms (love you mom!) It contains: 1 cup of quick oats, 1/2 cup of almond or peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of flax seed and chia seeds, 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips, and 1/4 cup of shredded coconut. You want to mix the ingredients until it is homogeneous and then roll them into balls and place them on a plate. Once all the balls are rolled out, place them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes so that they set and BAM that is it. Super easy and yummy.
After Weight Lifting
It is just as important to eat after your weight lifting workout as it is before. This is because after your workout you deplete your glycogen stores and your muscle tissue develops microscopic tears (don't freak, it's nothing to worry about). Therefore, after your workout it is extremely important to consume carbohydrates (replenishes glycogen stores) and protein (helps heal and build muscle).
Here are two things to eat after weight lifting!
Examples of Post Workout Foods :
A protein smoothie is a quick and healthy option especially if you're short on time. Smoothies are a great post workout meal/snack because it will replenish your glycogen stores and give you the protein that you need to heal and build muscle.
My go to protein smoothie contains: 1 scoop of Gold Standard chocolate whey protein, 1/2 cup of frozen berries, 1/2 of a medium sized banana, 1 cup of water, and a sneaky 2 cups of spinach (I promise you won't taste it.)
Sandwich wraps or pitas are an amazing option for a post workout meal because it includes carbohydrates and proteins. Also, wraps and pitas are super easy to make and can be meal prepped for the week (it keeps really well).
The sandwich that I make contains: 1 whole wheat wrap or pita, 1/4 of an avocado smeared (replaces mayonnaise), 3 ounces of turkey or chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, red onion, salt and pepper. Extremely simple and satisfying. This recipe meets all your nutrient needs post workout.
These four things to eat will help you receive maximum results before and after weight lifting. The four things to remember are: 1) choose complex carbohydrates that are lower on the Glycemic Index before your workout, 2) eat protein before your workout, 3) remember to restore glycogen post workout by consuming carbohydrates and 4) don't forget to eat protein after your workout to repair and build muscle.