The ideal ratio for your body to maximize performance and muscle recovery of your workouts is 3-4 servings of carbohydrate (45-60 grams) for every serving of protein (8-10 grams).
Pre-workout, your carbohydrate intake will supplement your glycogen stores and provide the blood sugar essential to endurance, power, and total output. This will allow you to hit faster speeds, heavier weights, or more sets/reps in your sessions. It will also make sure you don’t experience a drop in blood sugar levels during your workout that can cause light-headedness, nausea, or fainting.
Post-workout, carbohydrate intake will replenish glycogen stores and optimize the ability of protein to repair muscle and reduce soreness in the days that follow.
If you plan to work out close to a meal (either before or after), aim to have one of the snacks on the other side of your workout. Eat within 1-2 hours of your workout time and don’t forget your water bottle!
4 Pre/Post Workout Snacks
1) A slice of Ezekiel bread, banana, and a tablespoon of nut butter:
45 grams of carbohydrate, 9 grams protein; 280 calories and 8 grams of fiber.
2) 1 cup plain 1% yogurt with ¾ cup berries:
35 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams protein; 220 calories and 3 grams fiber.
3) A smoothie with 1 cup 1% milk or soy milk, 1 cup spinach, and 1 cup frozen tropical fruit:
40 grams carbohydrate, 1 grams protein; 225 calories and 4 grams fiber. *Note: using another milk substitute will compromise protein intake from this snack – if doing so, consider adding a serving of protein powder around 10-12 grams per serving.
40 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams protein; 260 calories and 4 grams fiber.
What about added sugars? Sugar intake around a workout will be utilized during the work and recovery of your exercise – your body actually needs something that will digest a little more quickly than a complex carb! It isn’t an excuse to have something high in added sugars, but the sugar in fruits, yogurts, and most energy bars is not something to be concerned about as long as you’re sticking to the above recommendations. Making sure there is some fiber content to your snack, such as in those above, will allow your energy to last through a 45-60 minute workout!