Feed the Machine! Nutrition for Pre and Post Workouts
People exercise for a variety of reasons. It could be to achieve personal goals like to lose weight, train for a race, stay healthy, or have energy to play with their kids. I'm not going to lie; this is actually the EASY part! Carving out three to five hours a week to exercise is not too hard when we have 168 hours in a week. There are some other variables that affect exercise (in a positive or negative way) and I would like to share some of these with you. "What can I do nutritionally to help me achieve my goals through exercise?" I get this question often and here are some simple yet effective answers depending on exercise background.
If you are new to exercise or have worked out for 20 years, I cannot emphasize enough how important hydration is. Our body is 70% water and most Americans are chronically dehydrated. So my first piece of advice is to drink plenty of water. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) are essential amino acids that the body needs for muscle growth and development. In fact, of the 20 essential amino acids we have in our muscle tissue, a third of those are BCAA’s. Whether you are doing resistance training or aerobic exercise, we need those BCAA’s to help keep our muscle tissue. A great way to supplement this is with a powdered BCAA that you can put into your water. Six to ten grams pre-workout is great to keep the levels up to maintain and / or improve performance through the workout.
Feed the machine! Once you get done with resistance training, you have to help put those building blocks into the body. If you cannot eat a good meal within an hour, feel free to supplement with a protein shake.
A few words on calories. First, track your caloric intake if you want help with your diet. Most people know more about what they put into their car than they do their body. There are a lot of free apps that make it very simple. Once you have tracked your food for two weeks, we can now figure out how many calories you need to consume to either gain or lose weight. If your goal is to lose weight and you just stop eating, your body will lose some fat but will also sacrifice muscle. Resistance training is a vital part of losing weight so don’t neglect the weights! Maintain the muscle while losing the fat!