Should you train on an empty stomach or should you fill your guts before a workout? What to eat before and after exercise:
Food for training and energy requirements is critical to the effectiveness of your workout. However, confusion lies within people believing that if there is nothing in your stomach then your body will be forced to utilize the stored fat rather than using the new food you’ve just eaten and ultimately you’ll get skinnier. Sounds great in theory, but is it right?
No. Unless you’re planning on a 2-3 hour slow walk each day and happy losing muscle mass and slowing down your metabolism, this type of rationale is not worth your time. You can gain much better fat loss and muscle toning results through the correct use of nutrition and program design.
To ensure your body stays in a growth and repair state (anabolic), compared to a breakdown and damaged state (think a team of brick layers vs a demolition team), you are better off ensuring your diet is well timed and nutrient dense around your training.
How to do it:
Make sure you are properly fed before a training session so that you can give it everything you’ve got. High protein and carbohydrates, with some good fats is perfect. A simple meal would be 100g of turkey, avocado on a slice of toast about an hour before. If you are someone who struggles to stomach food and then train, opt for a liquid which is protein and carbohydrate dense.
Make sure you have a big meal not too long after training to ensure you capitalize on your body’s demand for growth and repair. The spike in insulin and protein synthesis will be put to waste if you miss the opportunity to reefed and provide the body with the correct nutrients.
Your body’s ability to process carbohydrates and protein directly after a solid strength or HIIT session is not only pinnacle, it is also vital. Not refueling your body with protein and carbs is the equivalent of calling the demolition team in again and letting them go to town on your metabolism. Not smart if you’re aiming for that tight skin look and feel.
My personal favourite is eggs, bacon, avocado, broccolini and capsicum on toast. But meat and vegetables mixed in with some extra carbs is also a great solution.
Great pre and post workout ideas:
Smoothies- coconut water, blueberries, banana and protein powder or green smoothies
Spiced Chicken breast (or other meat), veggies, rice (if needed)
Peanut butter sandwich, protein shakes, BCAA drinks
Brandon Hasick is a Sports Scientist, movement coach and owner of BodyByBrando, a group fitness studio in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. Brando holds a passion for helping ordinary people achieve extraordinary results with their bodies with his ultimate goal to help as many people understand how they can build a better body that functions at optimal capacity day in and day out.