Eating Before Exercising
You need a certain calorie intake if you want to build lean muscle, and you need to have a good muscle workout regimen going on. While you do need lots of calories for your workouts and tissue repair, you need to eat a certain combination of calories so that you actually gain muscle.
Carbohydrates, or carbs, are the energy source that you mainly use during your workouts. It stores as glycogen in your muscles, and is used when you need short bursts of power. The more you work out, the more glycogen you need. When you run out, you’ll feel sluggish and your muscle contractions will no longer be fueled. Athletes who do plenty of strength-training exercises need lots of carbs if they’re going to build muscles well.
The amount of carbs you need depends on how long and how intense your training sessions are. If you do a normal workout that’s under an hour, you’ll only need two grams per pound daily. If you train for over two hours, you may need three or four grams of carbs per pound. For the average male, you’ll need 400-600 grams per day, if you do strength-training workouts that are intense. Your carb requirements depend on the workout and your body size.
No matter how intense your workout, you’ll need some protein as soon as possible after you exercise. Protein builds and repairs your muscle tissue that hard exercise breaks down. It’s the basic building block of muscles, so you’ll want to have more protein if you want to see results during your strength training. Despite this, many athletes overestimate their actual needs.
The USDA says that the normal person needs 0.4 grams of protein per pound daily. For the athlete, you need 0.6 to 0.8 grams per pound daily, and not exceed a pound. If you weigh 200 pounds, you’ll need 128-164. You can get this protein by eating plenty of lean meats such as fish and chicken, consuming dairy, and eating fruits, legumes, and nuts. Protein shakes and bars are also a convenient way to add more protein to your diet.
Just because you’re told to avoid it, doesn’t mean you don’t need any. Your intake of fat should consist of 30% of your calories, and it should come from healthier fat such as lean meats, fish, olive oil, seeds, nuts, and avocados.
You should always drink after exercise to replace the fluids that you may have lost. Drink about two cups two hours before you work out. Drink four to eight ounces during your workout for every 15 minutes. Consume 16 ounces after your workout. For a more accurate measure, drink 16 ounces per pound that you’ve lost during your workout.
Eating After Your Workout
Consuming protein and carbs after you exercise so that you restore your glycogen and help fuel your muscles. Combining four grams of carbs per one gram of protein is ideal. It allows you for more stored glycogen by doubling your insulin response. However, too much protein can do the opposite. If you need more help, talk to your nutritionist or doctor for more information. This article is not intended for professional medical advice.