Getting in a daily effective workout these days can be a challenge. Our schedules are packed with errands, responsibilities and finding the time to work out the way we should is a task itself. Our own sweat success however can easily be derailed with improper hydration or nutrition wasting the workout we just completed. By breaking down the workout routine into three phases of hydration and nutrition can significantly increase energy, recovery and its overall effectiveness.
Starting a workout is more than just lacing up your sneakers. Going into a workout properly fueled will improve performance and jump start recovery. Top off your fuel tank with a small balanced snack containing carbohydrate, fluid, and a small amount of protein about one to two hours before. Make sure to hydrate with 16-20 ounces of water and never go into a workout on an empty stomach.
Great pre workout snacks include:
- 1 yogurt with ½ cup berries and ¾ cup high fiber cereal
- small bowl of cereal with a banana
- ½ turkey sandwich and fruit
- ½ peanut butter and jelly sandwich with fruit
- homemade trail mix (1c high fiber cereal, 2tsp dried fruit, 2tsp nuts)
It is important to stay hydrated during exercise and knowing how much to drink is the key. Losing two percent or more of body weight due to sweating can decrease performance and put you at greater risk for heat illness. A good way to monitor how well you are hydrated is to weigh yourself before and after training. For example, a 150 pound person who lost more than three pounds during a workout is not hydrated properly. Avoid this by taking four to six gulps of fluid about every fifteen minutes and pay extra attention to hydration if perspiration is more than normal or if exercising in an extreme environment.
Knowing when to use a sports drink or stick with water is also something to consider. If you are training for less than one hour and weight loss is the goal of the session, water should be your drink of choice. However choose a sport drink if you are training for over an hour, are in extreme environments, lean mass gain is the goal, you enter the workout without any fuel or you are performing a short but extremely intense workout. Make sure you select one with at least 110mg of sodium per eight ounces to help prevent cramping and maintain electrolytes. 20-32 ounces an hour is all you’ll need to keep you fueled. Balance the rest of your hydration needs with water.
Once the workout is over you have an open window of opportunity to get your body the nutrients it needs for recovery. The sooner you get your post workout nutrition, the quicker you recover. This window spans from ten to 120 minutes after the workout. Within ten minutes of training refuel with carbohydrates and protein. The more intense the training, the more carbohydrates you need. Protein needs are based on body weight for post workout fuel. Finally, drink 20-24oz of fluid for each pound lost during training.
The sooner you get your post workout nutrition, the quicker you recover. This recovery meal should make up one of your five to six meals per day. Follow the table below to see what you may need to recover:
120-150 pounds: 15-20 grams protein, 30-60 grams carbohydrates
150-180 pounds: 20-25 grams protein, 40-75 grams carbohydrates
181-215 pounds: 25-30 grams protein, 50-90 grams carbohydrates
215-245 pounds: 30-35 grams protein, 60-105 grams carbohydrates
Great post workout meals include:
- 20oz low-fat chocolate milk and a banana
- meal replacement bar and 20oz sports drink
- fruit smoothie blended with yogurt or whey protein
- turkey and pasta salad
- spaghetti and meatballs
Breaking into the three phases of pre, during, and post-workout when it comes to hydration and nutrition will allow you to see the gains you desire when it comes to your workout. Your body is a machine and it needs a balance of calories for performance. If you feel strong and able to challenge yourself just by changing your fueling approach, your goals will be reached in no time.