6 Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition Tips to Build Muscles

words Al Woods

workout food

Every workout is an opportunity to improve your body. To be healthy, you need to consistently exercise. However, it’s important to fuel your body for the long haul with the right pre and post-workout nutrition.

This can help prevent injury, reduce recovery time, and enhance muscle growth. Here are six tips that will help you prepare for your next workout and recover more quickly afterward– so you can build muscles faster!

1) Use a caloric planner

Caloric consumption is one of the most important factors in the post-workout plan. Eating too little or too much before the workout will throw off your system and can seriously affect your performance.

When you eat before or after workout, make sure you’re sticking to the recommended caloric intake for your BMI, whether your goal is to lose weight and build muscle, or maintain your weight and tone.

2) Focus on Healthy Protein Sources

Make sure you’re consuming enough protein for an active lifestyle. It’s one of the trainee’s favorite meals: chicken with veggies and low-fat, low-sugar dressing. There’s plenty of variety with low-calorie and diet varieties. If you’re feeling less adventurous, there are other protein options like Greek yogurt, shrimp, or turkey meatballs. You can also add vegetables and beans to your meals. Make sure your protein source is high in healthy fats.

Protein’s role in muscle building, recovery, and maintenance is immense. When you have more protein, your body will have a better chance of becoming an efficient nutrient-processing machine. Protein is also necessary for muscle repair. The more muscle you can repair and grow, the faster you can reach your goals.

What’s important is to calculate how much protein intake you need. Excessive protein intake will cause dehydration and be detrimental to athletic performance. All you need to do is look at your “recommended daily intake” on a nutrition calculator.

3) Don’t Workout On an Empty Stomach

Start the workout with a hearty meal or snack. Even if you’ve been planning to eat between sets, you’ll still be hungry for your next meal after the workout. Aim for a meal or snack that will fill you up long before the next meal. This will help prevent a drop in performance when you’re lifting heavier weights.

4) Don’t Skimp on Potassium

Potassium is important for muscle function, as well as the cardiovascular system. Make sure you’re getting plenty of potassium through food and by drinking a high potassium-containing drink. You can also get a potassium drink at the gym, or just bring have a banana before a workout.

5) Be Wary of Sugars

Not all sugars are bad. Sugars that are broken down quickly, or simple sugars such as white rice, pasta, and potatoes will increase blood sugar levels rapidly. This is good for short bursts of energy. Over time, this may lead to fatigue and slower recovery after working out. 

Instead, many experts recommend sticking to complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa before and after a workout for sustained energy release. Simple sugars also lead to hunger and you may overeat to compensate for that hunger. 

6) Fill Up on Electrolytes

The human body produces only the amount of electrolytes needed. It’s important to consume electrolytes when you’re working out, in order to prevent muscle cramping. Electrolytes include sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Don’t worry, you’ll still be getting sodium during your next meal. But if you experience muscle cramping or cramping in the legs, you’ll need to drink more fluids.

Listen to your body, and learn when to eat and drink more so you can build muscles.

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