WHEN you eat can be as important as WHAT you eat regarding workout nutrition. There is an endless range of supplements and wonder-foods available, many promising a great return if you simply purchase their product. Well, there are some supplements that could help with workouts and recovery, but they are just that – supplements to a regular diet and exercise program. Get your regular diet and eating habits in order first, and then you’ll be able to tell which supplements really seem to help you out.
So how do you go about getting your eating habits in order? Start with the things that matter the most, of course:
• Eat breakfast everyday
• Eat a complete protein with each regular meal
• Eat every two to three hours
• Drink plenty of water throughout the day
• Drink mainly non-caloric beverages
Before you start counting every gram and half-gram of fat in your diet, get these basics in order. Eating smaller, more frequent meals, can not only stop cravings, but leave you feeling less hungry during the day, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve recovery from training. Get this in order first.
This all leads us to the title of this article – workout nutrition. Besides (or possibly including) breakfast, timing nutrient intake around your training is the most important aspect of recovery. Multiple studies have shown far higher recovery rates (in some studies as much as 300%!) for those consuming a pre- and post- workout drink containing both carbohydrates and protein opposed to those consuming only water around the workout window. We will define this workout window as 30 minutes prior to and 30 minutes post-workout, and this nutrition should come in the form of liquid and contain little to no fat for ease of assimilation. There are many drinks on the market that address this but there is an easy choice in your local dairy – chocolate skim milk. An easy to find, relatively cheap way to increase your recovery from hard training. Add a small bottle to your workout bag and sip some about 30 minutes prior to your workout, and finish the bottle within 30 minutes post-workout. This bottle would of course be in addition to your water bottle because basic hydration is vital.
If you aren’t already doing so, try incorporating workout nutrition in your training program and start recovering faster. Find which workout-window drink works best for you (chocolate milk is an easy starting point) and follow the bullet points above to get your eating habits (and timing) in order. Improved recovery doesn’t have to be a complicated effort, just a consistent effort!