"When and What do I eat before and after my workouts"

By: Sarah Gresham

“When & what do I eat -- before & after my workouts?”

We get this question often and it’s an important one! There is so much conflicting information out there regarding exercise nutrition & timing. Keep in mind this answer will vary based on your body type, activity level and personal goals.

“When do I eat?”

The general nutrient timing recommendation for pre- & post-wod is 1-2 hours before your workout and 1-2 hours after your workout. This healthy meal should be a well balanced ratio of lean protein, carbohydrates, and fat, along with low calorie beverage - like water.

Pre-wod meals will help with energy level, performance, hydration and will aid in preserving muscle mass, as well as speeding up your recovery.

Post-wod meals will help you refuel, recover, rehydrate, build muscle, and improve your future performance.

Endurance athletes, bodybuilders & those who compete in the sport of fitness require special nutritional needs. Those athletes are the minority & may require supplements, higher caloric intakes, as well as different ratios of protein/carb/fat.

If you’re the everyday CrossFitter, which is the majority of us, you can meet your nutritional needs by simply eating a healthy well balanced meal 1-2 hours before and 1-2 hours after your workouts.

If your 1-2 hour window to consume a healthy pre/post-wod meal just isn’t feasible (because LIFE!) consider planning ahead & have an easily digestible snack or liquid, like a shake/smoothie, 30-60 minutes before/after class. Try not to consume your snack or shake/smoothie too close to class time though - this may cause nausea and muscle fatigue during your workout as your body works through digestion.

If you workout very early in the morning, you may not feel like eating yet and that is totally normal! Your meal from the night before is your early morning WOD fuel - so be sure to keep that in mind and consume a healthy well balanced meal each evening before a early morning workout.

Here’s an example of what your pre/post-wod smoothie might look like:

  • 1-2 scoops protein powder
  • 1-2 (fist size serving) of fresh spinach
  • ½ - 1 banana (or a cupped hand of berries)
  • ½ - 1 (thumb size serving) of fat - like peanut butter, mixed nuts or seeds
  • 4-8oz. Chocolate or vanilla, unsweetened almond milk

“What (and how much) do you need to eat?”

As a general guideline you should be consuming a healthy balance of lean protein, carbohydrates, and fat for every meal. Again, the exact amount depends on your body type, activity level and your personal goals.

Sources of protein include but are not limited to; turkey, chicken, lean beef, bison, elk, deer, wild caught fish, farm fresh eggs & dairy. Carbohydrates include veggies (all of them!), fruit, berries, potatoes, rice & whole grains. Some good sources of healthy fats come from olives, avocados, nuts & seeds.

If you’re a man, here’s what “eyeballing” your meal portions might look like:

  • 2x palm sized portions of lean protein
  • 2x fist sized portions of vegetables
  • 2x cupped hands of carbs (like berries, rice or potato)
  • 2x thumbs of fat (like nuts & seeds)

If you’re a woman, here’s what “eyeballing” your meal portions might look like:

  • 1x palm sized portion of lean protein
  • 1x fist sized portion of vegetables
  • 1x cupped hand of carbs (like berries, rice or potato)
  • 1x thumb of fat (like nuts & seeds)

Note: actual portions will depend on your size, how often you eat, goals, results & activity levels.

If you are looking for a more accurate & precise caloric intake recommendation, along with guidance on daily macronutrient intake, the Oregon CrossFit team can help! Nutrition is the base of the CrossFit prescription and we are happy to help you build a solid foundation.

Our staff can assist with nutrition accountability coaching & macronutrient recommendations for a multitude of reasons, whether it’s weight loss, maintenance, improved performance, aesthetics or simply the desire to feel better.

Coach Sarah is a Precision Nutrition Pn1 Certified Pro in Exercise Nutrition & she’s ready to help you reach your goals. Contact us by email info@oregoncrossfit.com to get started on your path to peak fitness & nutrition.




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