In a previous blog post, “6 supplements to boost your health.” We talked about supplement recommendations for everyday life that will help improve longevity and health. Now, we will talk about peri-workout nutrition that can help boost your training performance. DISCLAIMER: Again, these are just recommendations. You should always consult with a doctor before consuming anything.
There are three windows around your training time that meals/supplements are best used, which is called “peri-workout nutrition.” This is what you eat/drink and digest before, after, and even during your workout. The purpose of focusing on peri-workout nutrition is to maximize performance in your session and improve recovery afterward.
Before looking at any supplements, think about your pre-workout meal and find something that works best for you. Try different things but don’t make the mistake of not consuming anything before training which can cause problems. Theoretically, carbs are your body’s main fuel source, which would indicate that a high-carb meal would be best. However, some function best off a high protein/fat, low carb pre-workout meal. My suggestion is, if you are using carbs, go for fast-digesting, lower fiber ones, as these won’t sit too heavy, or make you feel weighed down and sluggish.
The most critical factor to consider in the post-workout window is protein. Be sure to consume 0.6 to 1 gram of protein per body weight within 0-60 minutes after training. Carb dosage is dependent on goals. It is pretty vital for endurance athletes but for fat loss not needed.
There’s no reason to be eating Whole Foods while working out so supplements would be recommended here. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- EAA’s – There are 20 amino acids in total and 9 are classified as essential. Essential amino acids are the ones that the body can’t produce itself; they must be acquired through diet. EAA’s are a complete protein in a broken-down form. Meaning more can be consumed.
- BCAA’s – 3 of the essential amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, and valine – are known as the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), named for their branched chemical structure. They are metabolized in the muscle instead of the liver. This means that they’re available in the bloodstream soon after ingestion and can be used for quick energy during exercise. Increased muscle mass, decreased fatigue, and improved glycogen storage
- Carbohydrates – provide a rapidly available fuel source, which keeps your energy high while training. Fast digesting and low molecular weight
- Electrolytes – Increase absorption of amino acids and helps you stay hydrated while maintaining high training intensity.
Along with the pre-workout meal, caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine, etc. are all goals specific. There are a ton of supplements to take peri-workout but be sure to know the reasons for taking them. Your general nutrition will have a bigger impact on your body composition and health. Focusing on peri-workout nutrition can certainly make your sessions more productive, improve your recovery and have a positive impact on your physique goals. But what you eat over the course of a day, a week, a month and a year will have far more of an effect on how you look, so make sure you nail your nutrition as a whole before looking for any magic tips and tricks on nutrient timing.
Jermaine Hough Jr.