Pre and Post-Workout Meals: Combat Muscle Soreness and Fatigue

If you’ve ever exercised, you probably know what sore muscles feel like. You’ve probably experienced “the burn” that comes during a workout. While you never want your muscles to be sore for days on end, that soreness you feel is important. It’s your muscles growing stronger and making repairs so you can continue to progress.

If you’re putting in hard work to make positive changes in your body, you want to be eating optimally. Pre and post-workout nutrition is critical to your success, so take the time to plan ahead and use a few of these recommendations to get you started.

What you eat before a workout will depend on the time of day and the activity in some cases. In general, however, it’s best to get a good mix of protein and carbohydrates 60-90 minutes before your workout. The goals of your pre-workout meal are to reduce muscle glycogen depletion and muscle protein breakdown.

Here are a few suggestions for your pre-workout meal
IsaLean Shake
Combine 1 serving of IsaLean with water or almond milk for a light meal with a good mix of protein and carbohydrates.

Oats and egg whites
1 serving of oatmeal and 2 egg whites provide a good mixture of protein and carbohydrates, but this meal will take a little more effort to digest than Shakeology. Be sure you have it early enough before your workout so you aren’t feeling sluggish while still digesting. If you notice that you’re hungry during your workout, swap your egg whites for 1-2 eggs. The added fat will help you stay full longer.

Quinoa and nuts
This is a great option for someone who is vegan, or someone who is gluten intolerant. One serving of quinoa provides a good source of carbohydrates and protein. Top with a few of your favorite nuts and stir in some cinnamon for a tasty treat with a small amount of fat.

Lean meat and vegetables
If you workout right after lunch or dinner, consider having lean chicken or turkey with roasted vegetables. A salad works as well, but skip the heavy dressings and large amounts of cheese, croutons or bacon that many salads have.

In a pinch?
If you need another quick option for a pre-workout meal, grab a banana or an apple and a handful of nuts. You can often find these items in a convenience store, so there’s no excuse for not fueling yourself properly.

Now that we’ve covered what should happen before your workout, let’s talk about what should happen after. The principal is the same here. You want to combine a good source of protein and carbohydrates. In this case, some extra carbohydrates can actually benefit you. They help replenish muscle glycogen that was depleted during your workout. Your post-workout meal can also help reduce muscle fatigue and soreness, and reduce cortisol levels. Try to have this meal within 30-45 minutes of your workout. You really want to use that window to help your body begin repairing as quickly as possible.

Here are a few suggestions for your post-workout meal
Wait…Didn’t you just say I should have that before my workout? Yes! The combination of protein and carbohydrates in IsaLean is the perfect mix for either meal. If your workout requires a little more endurance, add some frozen fruit to your Shake and liquid of choice to make a smoothie with a little more healthy carbohydrates.

Lean meat or fish and sweet potato
Chicken, turkey or tilapia are all great sources of protein after a workout. Add half of a sweet potato on the side and enjoy!

Healthy wrap
Need a quick dinner after your workout? This is a great meal you can whip up in no time at all. You can use a spinach or whole wheat wrap with lean meat or tuna.  Have some lettuce or spinach, bell peppers, carrots and your other favorite vegetables on hand for extra healthy fillings. You can use mustard, salsa or hummus for extra flavor with little fat.

Healthy salad
You can have a salad after your workout as long as you include enough calories and carbohydrates. In addition to a lean protein, consider adding fruits like berries or apples with almond slivers. You may want to add a slice of whole wheat bread on the side as well to keep you fuller longer. Or, try something a little different. Black beans, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, lean chicken and salsa with a little bit of avocado make a delicious salad with a great mix of carbohydrates and protein.

Oats and berries with egg whites
Add a 1/2C of berries to oatmeal and have 2 egg whites on the side. You can use quinoa or buckwheat in place of oatmeal for a gluten free option. This meal also provides a good mix of protein and carbohydrates with little fat to slow down digestion and muscle repair. If this meal doesn’t satisfy your hunger, swap the egg whites for 1-2 eggs. The added fat will help you stay full longer.

What do you usually eat before and after your workout? Have you ever paid attention to how different meals make you feel, or how they change your recovery time?

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