Nutrient timing. Window of gains. Pre and post-workout food. Whatever you want to call it: The way you eat before and after the gym can have a big impact on your gym performance, how you feel, and also on your aesthetics.
At Paragon Training Methods, we’re a fan of mastering the basics, in addition to keeping things SUPER simple. We’re big proponents of eating real, whole foods. Supplements may certainly have their place, but should be just that – an addition to an already awesome way of eating.
Our priorities? Walk into the gym well-fueled, maximize feeling good during workouts, and eat in a way afterwards that supports recovery and optimizes muscle-building. Worth mentioning that “rest day macros” or “lower carb/lower calorie rest days” may not be best practice. Glycogen stores can be slow to replenish, so we generally recommend keeping food and intake the same, regardless of whether or not we’re training that day.
When Should I Eat?
Probably best to not be digesting fresh food while slanging dumbells or barbells, so best practice is likely to eat 90-120 minutes prior to exercise. Early bird chasing the awesome? Totally cool to train fasted! Consider crushing a big carb-filled dinner the night before. Alternatively, roll out of bed and smash something like hard-boiled eggs, instant oats, or rice cakes.
If we tend to workout in the evening, make sure to eat at frequent intervals during the day to keep blood sugar cruising. Not uncommon to hear of someone eat lunch at 11 or 12, not eat anything, and then go to workout 5-6 hours hours later. Try inserting even a small meal in the mix so we’re not running on fumes at the gym.
What Should I Eat Before The Gym?
Focus on primary protein & carbs with minimal added fat/fiber prior to working out. Tons of fat may slow down digestion and tons of fiber .. might not end well (:
Eggs + Potatoes
Chicken + Sweet Potato
Ground Turkey + Rice
Need a Mid-Workout Boost?
Gluten-Free Breakfast Cereal
Sweet Potato or Baby Food Squeeze Packs
Protein Powder + Carb Powder
What Should I Eat Post Workout?
Everything! (Kidding). But really, eat up. Get a big well-rounded meal with tons of protein and carbs. Feel free to snag a shake if it’ll be a hot minute before we’re able to eat.
Eggs + Bacon + Sweet Potato Hash
Ground Bison + Avocado + Potatoes
Steak + Avocado + Rice