Nutrition plays an important role in muscle building and both meals and pre and post workout snacks play equally significant role in enhancing the efficiency and productivity of the power-packed strength training sessions. The three most important nutrients required for building muscles, losing fat and building strength are proteins, carbohydrates and fats and all these nutrients should be derived from high-quality sources. It is important to plan your pre and post workout meals with care because what you eat before a workout session helps in fuelling the workout itself and what you eat after your workout helps in promoting the recovery process of the body.
Benefits of Pre and Post Workout Foods
Pre and post workout foods help in enhancing the efficiency of the body so that you can push through the strenuous workout session more efficiently and your hungry muscles are supplied with optimum nutrients for faster recovery and growth.
- These foods supply more energy during workouts. It helps in filing you the glycogen stores so that the energy level remains elevated during the workout session. Therefore, it is important to eat high carb foods before workouts.
- These foods help in protecting the muscles during heavy weight training. Strenuous weight training creates a catabolic environment in the body that can break down the muscle tissues to use them as energy. But a power packed pre workout meal can help in preventing muscle breakdown.
- Protein rich foods consumed before workouts act as a source of slow releasing amino acids that promote protein synthesis and stimulate muscle growth.
- Eating carb-rich foods post-workout helps in replenishing the glycogen lost from the muscles during a workout. Glycogen is stored in the form of glucose and it is the most important source of energy which is required for muscle contractions.
5 Power-Packed Pre-Workout Foods
Pre-workout foods are important for bodybuilding because they are a rich source of proteins, carbohydrates and fats that not only provide more energy during workouts, but also promote muscle growth by supporting the slow release of amino acids into the blood stream. Any food that you eat before your workout session should be consumed 30 to 60 minutes before starting the training.
Bananas are considered as natural power bars that work as the best source of pre-workout protein if you are looking to build muscles. Bananas are quick and easily available source of potassium and digestible carbohydrates that help in maintaining healthy muscle and nerve functions. Potassium also helps in relieving soreness and speeding up the recovery process.
But unfortunately, the body cannot store potassium for very long and therefore; it has to be supplemented by foods. And what better way to supplement potassium than with bananas that also provide energy to maximize the performance through workouts. Have a banana with a cup of Greek yogurt 30 minutes before hitting the gym.
Whole Grain Bread
A slice of whole grain bread topped with honey or slices of boiled egg is one of the best pre-workout snack rich in carbohydrates in high-quality proteins. While you can get the bulk of other nutrients from lean meat, poultry, vegetables and dairy product, whole grain bread acts as a constant source of carbohydrates that fuel the strenuous weight training sessions. Enjoy a couple of slices of whole wheat bread with a hard-boiled egg 45 minutes before your head out for the gym.
Although, proteins are the most important macronutrient for muscle building, carbohydrates and fats also play equally important role because carbohydrates are the chief source of energy for the body which is required to push your body through intense workout sessions. And what better source of complex carbohydrates is there other than oatmeal? Oatmeal must be included in the pre-workout diet plan because it is a slow burning carb that acts as a consistent supply of energy.
Oatmeal is also a good source of protein and each cup of oatmeal contains 11 grams of protein. In addition, it also contains other muscle building nutrients such as iron and niacin that promote oxygen transportation through the bloodstream to the muscles and tissues.
Turkey with Greens
Combining a chicken or turkey breast with some collard greens, red bell peppers and a few cherry tomatoes is the best pre workout food if you are going to the gym after lunch. The main aim of bodybuilders is to gain as much muscle as possible without gaining body fat and turkey is one of the best sources of lean protein with relatively low-calorie content compared to other meats.
Lean protein is easily digested and doesn’t cause digestive problems during workouts. In addition, the collard greens added to the dish helps in cutting out the calories and carbs making it a perfect meal for muscle building and fat burning.
Fruits and Cottage Cheese
The combination of cottage cheese, melons and fresh berries makes a delicious pre-workout snack rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – all of which are essential for endurance workouts and circuit training. Organic cottage cheese is a cheap and rich source of casein – the slowest digesting protein that rejuvenates the muscles and prevents them from being used as a source of energy when the body is at rest. In addition, cottage cheese is low in fat and high in calcium that helps support the workout regime whether your goal is to bulk up lean muscle mass or burn fat.
5 Healing Post Workout Foods
The most important post-workout nutrient for recovery is protein. Protein helps in repair and growth of tissues and muscles after a strenuous session of resistance training. Next to protein come fast-digesting carbohydrates that are needed to correct blood sugar balance and replenish glycogen and speed up the recovery process. It is suggested to consume 50 to 75 grams of high GI carbs after exercise.
Whey protein beats casein as an effective post-workout food in case of resistance training. Strenuous exercises exert the body to give maximum effort and this causes stress to the muscles and the muscles need adequate supply of amino acids to speed up muscle recovery. The body digests and absorbs the whey more rapidly compared to casein which in turn, allows the amino acids to reach the stressed muscle tissues.
In addition, whey also promotes the process of protein synthesis that is necessary to repair and rebuild muscles. Whey contains three essential amino acids – leucine, isoleucine and valine that are required for protein synthesis.
Organic eggs are one of the complete sources of nutrients and therefore, it must be included in the post workout diet for bodybuilders. A bodybuilder’s diet must be higher in protein compared to average persons, because they have to damage the protein fibers in the muscles with resistance training so that they can regrow bigger and stronger.
An egg contains almost 6 grams of high-quality protein; in addition, it is also a potent source of vitamins A, K, E, B Vitamins, folic acid and riboflavin. In addition, eggs are also a rich source of eight essential amino acids that are required for muscle building and optimal muscle recovery after workout.
An energy packed fruit smoothie made from fresh berries, melons and kiwi fruit is an amazing post-workout drink that help in hydrating the body and supplying it with carbohydrates and enzymes that promote the breakdown of nutrients that can be transported to the tired muscles and tissues.
While kiwi fruit can help in breaking down amino acids, the potent anti-inflammatory properties of pineapple help in reducing inflammation of muscles and boost up the process of recovery. But it is best to make your own fruit smoothie at home using fresh fruits because commercial mixes are usually loaded with sugar and fat.
Greek yogurt is loaded with proteins and carbohydrates and the quantity is almost double compared to regular yogurt which makes it the ideal food for muscle growth and recovery post weight training. It is low in sugar and fat which also makes it the perfect snack if you are looking to cut out fat. Adding some fruits and fresh berries to it helps in packing an extra dose of vitamins and minerals to it. In addition, berries are a potent source of micronutrients that helps in relieving muscle soreness and pain.
Protein is the center of a bodybuilder’s diet and a bodybuilder needs to consume at least 70 to 100 grams of protein every day and all kinds of beans such as kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, etc. are great sources of lean protein that are perfect for muscle building. Black beans for instance are low is saturated fats and high in vitamins A, B, C and K along with proteins and fibers that make it an amazing post-workout food. Add beans to green salads or combine then with eggs or chicken to load up on high-quality proteins.
Top 10 Tips for the Muscle-Building Diet
Building ripped muscles required a combination of weight training and the intake of adequate nutrition. Here are a few helpful tips that will definitely enhance the effectiveness of your muscle-building diet.
6 Quality Meals – Make it a point to consume 6 balanced meals every day in order to speed up the metabolism process. It also functions as a constant source of energy and reduces the propensity of the body to store the foods as fats.
Add Protein and Complex Carbs in Every Meal – Each meal should have at least 30 grams of protein from egg whites, fish or chicken along with some quality carbs in the form of potatoes, wheat bread or brown rice.
Don’t Rule out Supplements – Although, many budding body builders are apprehensive about consuming supplements, but natural bodybuilding supplements such as whey protein is a complete source of nutrients that promotes fast increase in muscle mass. You can consume the supplement early in the morning, before or after the workout session and before going to bed at night.
Cut out Simple Carbs – Although simple carbs are easy to find in white rice, white flour, soft drinks and honey, but it is best to stay away from simple carbs because the sugar disrupts insulin metabolism and promotes the body to store fat.
Eat Before Workouts – It is important to have a small snack comprising of protein and complex carbs at least 30 to 60 minutes before the workout in order to sustain the exhaustive regime.
Stay away from Salt and Fat – It is important to distinguish between good and bad fats. Vegetable oil, butter and animal fats are bad fats that should be removed from the diet and goods fats such as olive oil and the fats found in fish should be included in the diet.
Have a Post Workout Snack – The post workout snack is as important as the pre-workout one that supplies essential nutrients to the body and promotes muscles recovery.
Drink Water – The importance of water for our body needs no new emphasis. Optimum water intake enhances the performance of the muscles and makes them resistant to injuries.
Avoid Unhealthy Snacks – Most of the snacks we have between meals are loaded with salt and sugar that keeps us from achieving our target of a fit and muscular body. Plan your diet in such a way that you stay satiated at all times and do not feel like snacking.
Eat More Calories than You Burn – You need to consume more calories than you burn through resistance training in order to pack on muscles. Never starve yourself. Always have a hearty meal whenever you feel hungry.
So, now that you know the ideal pre and post workout food list for body building plan your meals and snacks accordingly and get ready to develop bigger and stronger muscles.