I’ve been asked many times about what I consume before and after my workouts. There’s a lot of debate in the fitness world about this subject: whether we should eat anything at all beforehand or do “fasted” workouts. As always, my knowledge comes from the books that I read (my FAVE being “The Thrive Diet” by Brendan Brazier, “Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness” by Robert Cheeke and “PUSH” by Chalene Johnson), the blogs that I follow and my own personal experimentation. My way might not work for you, you might find something that works better for your body and your personal workouts! I’m just here to share what I know, and I don’t pretend to know EVERYTHING! I’m constantly learning 🙂 and that’s a major fun part! So you’re welcome to give my advice a try, and always experiment and listen to your body! That is THE most important thing. Your body is smart, try and listen to the cues and signals it gives you.
So let me break it down for you:
THE BEST pre-workout nutrition is something quick-digesting that gives you a surge of natural and plant-based energy. This would be FRUIT. FRUIT is a MIRACLE food – it is the PERFECT fuel for athletes and humans in general! It is full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, natural sugars (GOOD FOR YOU – not the same as cane sugar at ALL) and healthy carbs. Our bodies RUN on carbs, which means we need carbs to survive and thrive. Fruit is the perfect carb source. It gives you great energy and sustainability.
I almost always work out first thing in the morning.
EVERY MORNING: As soon as I wake up, I have a glass of warm lemon water, followed by 2-3 glasses of tepid regular water. This wakes up the body naturally and gets your energy going first-thing. It’s better than a cup of coffee! It also helps to detox and eliminate toxins and waste.
BEFORE A WEIGHT LIFTING WORKOUT: About 15-20 minutes after my lemon water, I’ll have my pre-workout. These days I’ve been LOVING the energy I get from a banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter. I’ve been smushing the banana, stirring in the pb and sprinkling it with some cinnamon. DELISH & so so energizing. Some other great combos would be: an apple and nut butter, a few dates stuffed with nut butter OR coconut oil, a slice of Ezekiel toast and nut butter, 1/2 a cup of oats (I like using gluten-free such as kamut or spelt) soaked overnight in almond milk and some nut butter. Notice a pattern? The fruit/carbs give you a quick digesting energy boost, while the fats from the nut butter or coconut oil gives a slow-release and long-lasting fullness. It’s perfect for pre-lifting! 🙂
BEFORE A CARDIO WORKOUT: If I’ve got a cardio workout planned that day, I’ll usually do it “fasted”. This means I won’t eat anything after my lemon water. The benefits to fasted cardio are also widely debated, but I’ve noticed for my personal workouts that I’ve been burning many more calories and burning fat efficiently this way. You may want to do more of your own research to gain more knowledge about fasted cardio and to see if it’s right for you!
PRE-WORKOUT FORMULAS: I usually take Vega Pre Workout Energizer before a fasted cardio session. I am absolutely in LOVE with this pre-workout! You mix a scoop in a glass of water and within 15-20 minutes, you’ll be full of energy and ready to blast your workout! I love this pre workout because it’s CLEAN, plant-based and there are absolutely NO chemicals (it’s literally all-natural!). I love the burst of energy it gives me. My cardio workouts are usually HIITs (high intensity interval training) such as TurboFire, Insanity or (SOON) FocusT25 (all Beachbody programs). The pre-workout really helps me get through these workouts with more intensity, more mental focus and it just makes it much more fun!
DURING YOUR WORKOUTS: ALWAYS make sure to drink water BEFORE a workout (usually best upon waking). I also always drink water after having my pre-workout, and I also drink some water during my workout. Some people find this upsets their stomachs – again, do what feels best to YOUR body. I find sipping (NOT chugging) water really helps keep my energy up. If you should get hungry during a workout, or if your workout is longer than one hour, I suggest having a quick snack like some dates or half a banana (again, ENERGY) or Vega Endurance Gel.
NEVER starve yourself after a workout. THIS WILL NOT MAKE YOU BURN FAT OR LOSE WEIGHT – this will inhibit muscle growth and repair, make your body weak and sick, and your body will think it is starving so it will HANG ONTO fat (making YOU fatter). NEVER EVER EVER EVER starve yourself and NEVER EVER EVER EVER skip meals!!!!!
There is a common misconception that you NEED to have your protein RIGHT AWAY or else all is lost. This is a myth! What your body REALLY needs post-workout is CARBS! This will help speed recovery time because carbs are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. Your post-workout snack should contain very little fat (since fat takes awhile to absorb and can inhibit the carbs from absorbing quickly). Immediately post-workout, your best bet is something with a 4:1 carb:protein ratio. A fruit or a recovery drink is best. Lately I’ve been having Vega Recovery Accelerator, which has been AMAZING because it’s really helped with my muscle soreness and speeding up my recovery so I can get back at my workouts the next day! But something as simple as a pudding made with blueberries and bananas, or some citrus fruit would be great immediately post-workout.
PROTEIN PUDDING: After my carbs and after my shower, I’ll make myself my Protein Pudding recipe. Some days I’ll do two scoops of protein powder depending on my workout and my day ahead. One scoop is enough, however. Puddings are already broken down so your body doesn’t need to do much work to absorb and break the food down further, so it can get into your blood and muscles quicker. A protein pudding is PEFECT – I’ve been doing this for a long time now and notice tremendous muscle gains. If you haven’t tried it yet, DOOOOO IT. You won’t regret it!
I hope this has helped you gain some insight into how to best fuel your body for your workouts! I would LOVE to hear about your pre and post workout routines! Do you do things differently? What has worked for you? Are you going to give my method a try? Have you used Beachbody workout DVDs before? Have they worked for you? Did you want to give them a try?Have you tried Vega products? Do you like them? LET ME KNOW in the comments!
AGAIN, as ALWAYSSSSS, I’m here for you! If you need more help, if you need a coach, if you need an accountability partner, I’m your girl! I’m just an email away (firstname.lastname@example.org)! Don’t forget you can also add me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and on Instagram for daily inspiration!
PEACE, LOVE AND SWEAT,