We all know that what we eat has a huge role in helping you achieve your weight-loss and fitness goals (whether you are doing CrossFit or not.) While on a larger level, establishing good habits throughout the day is the most important thing. HOWEVER, when you get serious about your training and if you want faster results, it is important to think about meal timing as well. Consider not just what you are eating, but when you are eating around your workouts.
You just crushed that workout and what you put in your body during this time matters for recovery – read how you feel the rest of the day and the next day! Below is a good outline for when and how much of what you should be eating following a tough strength training workout:
0-2 Hours Post-Workout
This is like the “30 minutes before” meal, in that it needs to be easy to digest. Think high glycemic carbs to replenish glycogen stores (what your muscles use for energy) and lean protein (for the all important muscle maintenance and growth). We know that fat slows digestion, which also means absorption. So we keep fat low during this window so your body can better absorb and utilize the carbs and protein you are eating.
2+ Hours Post-Workout
This meal is also important for recovery and is the best time to fit in those nutrients like fats and fiber, that you didn’t get in around your actual workout time. Stick with low glycemic carbs to top off those glycogen stores without an unnecessary spike of insulin – think brown rice, whole grain bread or pasta, leafy green vegetables, peas or beans. Protein is still important, so be sure to incorporate lean options here too. Fat in this window will help transport nutrients around your body and keep the release and absorption of nutrients steady, so go ahead and enjoy some healthy fats with this meal – like olive oil, avocado, nuts or choose a protein with more fat like salmon.
With both your Pre and Post workout meals, your goal is to eat enough to cover the workout. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness and how the foods you choose make you feel. This is part of the process of dialing in your good eating habits!
Ok, so hopefully that helps you in eating the right food and catching yourself making excuses before you load up on burgers, beer or pizza. There’s room for those treats, but make sure you fuel first!