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What to eat when working out

TRAINER, EOIN O HALLORAN

The food you eat and digest before, after, and even during a workout is known as the "Peri Workout Window"

The food you eat prior to a workout is known as the “Pre-Workout” meal. This type of meal will be used to fuel your body sufficiently for your upcoming workout. There are various common foods that can be eaten here. These types of foods are supposed to be high in carbohydrate such as oats, rice, pasta, and potatoes. These foods are low-glycaemic “slow-digesting”, that release energy slowly in the bloodstream for hours. According to, (Vinturis, 2010) a pre-workout meal should be consumed anywhere from 60 minutes to 2 hours prior to the workout. On top of that, you can pair this up with a high protein-rich food such as Chicken and a healthy fat surcease Sunflower Oil for a fantastic Pre-Workout meal.

The next phase of the Peri-Workout window is the Intra-Workout. This is where one consumes nutrients during the workout. This can come in the form of supplementation. The supplementation may come in the form of ingesting Carbohydrates, Proteins, and a combination of Electrolytes. The Carbohydrate of choice is usually Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin and the reason behind this supplement is over its faster gastric emptying i.e. quicker absorption and faster absorption into the bloodstream. (Wilburn et al. 2021).This supplement will help increase performance and fuel oneself during the workout.

Another tool used in the Intra-Workout phase is Essential Amino Acids (EAA’s).

Nosakaet al (2006) stated the benefits of taking this supplement during the workout due to its complete amino acid profile i.e. all complements of proteins. Along with it helping repair muscle damage that one endures during a workout, keeping them in an “anabolic” or muscle building state.

Finally, the supplementation of Electrolytes throughout a workout is also another tool used to replace lost minerals (salts) that occurs in the body via sweat. Keeping the body in a hydrated state during the workout is key for performance. Drinking water can also provide a benefit to keeping hydrated throughout a workout. Furthermore, Jung et al.(2005) stated that keeping electrolyte balance in check during a workout will reduce the effects of muscle cramps.

The next phase is the most important phase which is known as the post-workout phase.

Here the body will use the food given to replenish glycogen stores (energy levels),decrease protein breakdown (repair muscle damage), and increase protein synthesis (increase muscle size and or quality). Here it is recommended by Sly(2013) to eat high-glycaemic (fast absorbing) Carbohydrates foods such as cereal, juices (Orange, Cranberry Juice), and high protein-rich foods with low-fat contents i.e. Whey, Vegan Protein, and or Chicken.

This food will be broken down rapidly and digested easily after the workout. There is no specific time for a post-workout meal to be consumed once it is ingested 30 minutes to 2 hours post-workout.

Hopefully you can use the above information to better fuel your workouts and your recovery. Start simple, make sure that you have a plan in place, especially for post workout nutrition. You can perfect your peri workout nutrition in time. The above recommendations are for workout performance and overall good health.

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