Shake it up!
Peri-workout nutrition encompasses nutrient intake pre, intra and post workout, to support your goals. Peri literally means ‘around’ in Latin (yeah, I did have to Google that) hence it’s application.
You might have heard peri-workout being hyped up by supplement companies as the key to making gains. Coincidentally, these companies offer a large collection of brightly coloured and flavoured concoctions that will supposedly that can take care of all your peri workout needs.
Traditional food works just as well, is cheaper and won’t change the colour of your urine. For these reasons, I prefer to stick with these options over supplements around my workouts, with the exception of a post-workout protein shake.
Let’s take a look at the three phases of peri-workout nutrition to see where you can optimise your intake.
When you say 'pre-workout' most people assume caffeine-overload and foul tasting powders. You might be aware of my thoughts on pre-workout supplements, but if not, you can get up to speed on the blog.
The aim of pre-workout nutrition is to ensure the body is adequately fuelled to support performance and ensure you aren’t hungry while exercising. A mix of carbohydrate and protein is usually adequate for most goals and will ensure that the body has adequate fuel for performance.
An exception can be when the primary goal is fat loss, where it has been proposed that lower insulin levels can be beneficial for fat oxidation. However, most well-developed training programs don't actually focus on burning fat during training. Instead, the goal is to more so elucidate a physiological response to promotes fat oxidation primarily after training has finished.
Confused? Here are three things you should know about fat burning.
Carbohydrate is muscle sparing, meaning it prevent the breakdown of excess muscle tissue during training sessions. Therefore, a balance between the benefits of for/against for carbohydrate intake should be done for training. If you are lifting weights or focusing on performance, make sure there are adequate carbohydrates. If you are focusing on ‘fuel burning’ carbohydrates can be kept lower.
With all that being said, it is more important that you train well and stick to your workout plan instead of worrying too much about nutrient intake, especially for beginner-intermediates!
This is mainly the focus for bodybuilders and sports of longer duration, such as marathon running and team sports. Unless you are gunning for a world championship or getting ready to step on stage, there is no need to worry about intra workout nutrition.
Hire a coach when you want to do this!
My Intra-workout Tip!
I have one simple tip that I like to use with my clients as part of their intra workout nutrition. If you are subscribed to the Integrated Insider, you will be receiving this tip later this week. If you aren't subscribed, thankfully you can sign up below.
Post workout nutrition
Slamming down a protein shake immediately after your final set is a good start, but you can do so much more to optimise your post-workout nutrition. Said protein shake and a moderate-fast acting carbohydrate source are your friends on the way out of the gym. Just don’t forget to make sure the lid is on before you shake it!
Once you have gotten home and checked your #gainz in the mirror, it is a good time to find another protein source and slower-acting carbohydrates. This meal can be kept relatively low fat. Fat intake isn’t necessarily detrimental, but it does slow gastric emptying, delaying the delivery of nutrients to the tissue.
This meal can be consumed anywhere between 45-90 minutes after a workout. For most people, this will be breakfast, lunch or dinner – depending on what time of day they train.
Example peri-workout nutrition protocol
Pre-workout: 140g Greek yoghurt, 45g oats, 1 banana and berries.
Intra workout: water, bro.
Post-workout A (immediately): protein shake and 45g jelly lollies.
Post workout B (1 hour after): Peri peri chicken and white rice.
Common peri-workout nutrition mistakes
Too much emphasis
Peri-workout is not the be all and end all of your training. No, you won't go anabolic and lose all of your gains if you forget to bring a protein shake to the gym. I have to admit, I have made this mistake more than a few time and proceeded to run to the shops for a protein fix!
Not eating before training
The idea that fasted training burns more fat has been dispelled, just read the article from James Kuhn. Some people still maintain the belief that by avoiding food before training, they will burn more fat. The problem is that if you are underfed and your performance suffers, you will end up burning less energy overall and profile less stimulus for muscle development, which is obviously bad...
Just because you trained hard and burnt 800kcals in a training session, doesn’t mean that you need to put them all back in! Don’t justify a bad meal by the energy burnt during a single training session.
If you want to work in a different meal option and reward yourself for your hard work, that’s fine. But make sure it is a reward for sticking to the program, not just completing one training session. Otherwise, you might find yourself being rewarding a little too often!
Shake it off
That is the basic of peri-workout nutrition on the table. I need a protein shake after all that typing!