Before you workout your body needs ample time to digest what you've put in it. A good rule of thumb is always to wait 1 hour prior to exercise. You want to make sure that you have enough time to digest the food before you embark on your crazy workout.
Post workout nutrition should be eaten NO LONGER than 1 hour after exercise. If you delay eating longer than an hour after your workout then your body begins to take those muscles you just worked so hard to get and deplete them by using them as energy for the rest of the day or night.
I bolded that line because I know so many people that do not follow the rule of eating no longer than 1 hour after working out. If you are not doing it now, then start today.
WHAT YOU NEED TO EAT
Don't forget that it's just as important to eat smart after your workout has subsided and you've come down. After a workout, your body is like a sponge, ready to soak up the nutrients in food to restore energy and replenish your muscles. A mixed meal high in carbohydrates with moderate portion of protein and fat soon after completing the workout is best to help re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise.
The right foods alone won't get you through a workout - you'll have to get the right hydration with water while you exercise. You should drink at least at least 16 ounces of water two hours before a workout, and about 6 to 12 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise. (An ounce is about a mouthful.)
Some food suggestions prior to a workout include:
- Vegetables like celery, cucumber, tomatoes
- Low-fat yogurt
- Fresh fruit such as cherries, plum, peach
- Healthy Cereal
- Oat bran bread
Post workout you can increase the protein to restore those muscles.
Some suggestions are:
- Whey protein shake
- Bagel with jelly
- Baked potato
- Stir-fried chicken and vegetables over brown rice
- Watermelon, banana
- Sports Drink
Caffeine can have serious side effects for some people. Those who are very sensitive to its effects may experience nausea, muscle tremors, and headaches. Too much caffeine is a diuretic, and can result in dehydration, which decreases performance.
In conclusion, if you're going to invest the time to put yourself through a productive workout, then it’s imperative to nourish your body correctly pre and post workout.