Fitness is the latest trend going around this era, and it’s probably the only trend that promotes good health and positivity. Having a healthy and fit body is something everyone aspires to.
However, it is also a challenging journey to make, and the results are not always as significant as one wants them to be.
Remaining fit despite all the sugar and laziness intruding our lives is tricky. Even if one makes it their goal to workout every single day, it might not work.
Everyone’s definition of being fit is different from others. Some people want to be within their allowed weight limit, while others want a fitter body with better and bigger muscles. But what is the map to gaining muscles and having a built body?
There are a few keys you will require to open the door to a muscular body. You need to work out, plan out your diet, be consistent and rest.
People usually are good at finding all of the keys except planning the diet. Now let’s keep in mind, planning your diet does not only entail increasing the protein portion or lowering your calories but also deciding what to eat at what specific time.
The most crucial time to choose your meal is before and after a workout. In other words, what to eat before and after your workout for muscle gain is very important. It can have a tremendous effect on how you build muscles faster and better.
This article will discuss what to eat before and after your workout to maximize muscle gain.
The best pre-workout food:
It is essential to eat before starting your workout as exercising without any energy source can end in a disaster. My trainer always advised on snacking before coming to the gym as he said he witnessed many candidates collapsing on equipment or feeling lightheaded.
While exercising, all of our body’s energy concentrates on that one particular task, and you can face nausea, dizziness, or lethargy. Having a snack before working out can change that picture.
It becomes increasingly difficult to find the will to eat when you exercise first thing in the morning. Not everyone is a fan of breakfast! But to have the optimum amount of energy for exercising, you should at least grab a protein bar on your way to the gym.
Another important thing is to drink water and hydrate. Loading-up on the water before, during and after a workout is recommended.
We talked so much about energy boost right before the workout, but we still haven’t touched the essential nutrient providing us with that energy. Our body produces power by breaking down glucose from the carbohydrates we take.
This fact tells us that the most vital nutrient to bulk up on before hitting the gym is carbs. These carbs can charge up your energy and provide you with the stamina to work out for longer.
Anyone could take these carbs in any form, but the healthier options are granola bar or plain old toast. You can also eat oatmeal, cereals, or any fruit you like.
If you are weight training, protein should also be part of your pre-workout snack. During work out, the thin fibres of our muscles tear apart, especially during weight training. After a workout, while our body is recovering, it patches those fibres again. With an abundance of protein, during recovery, the patched fibres could be more prominent.
This fact is the reason why protein is another factor that you should include in your snack. You can take the protein in the form of an egg, milk, or a chicken steak. Any kind of meat is high in protein concentration and can be brought before a workout to increase muscle gain.
When talking about what to eat before a workout, we have already discussed the increased water intake, carbs, and protein. The next tip will be to avoid fats.
Fat can increase the calorie count without helping with the exercise routine, but it can also leave the user feeling heavy and tired. Fats can have lethargic effects, and a person might feel lazier than before. This issue could make it very difficult to exercise correctly and for the required amount of time as the user is left feeling bloated.
To summarize, the pre-workout food to increase muscle mass should consist of protein and carbs and should be low in fat concentration. Make sure you do not overwhelm your stomach and are just feeding your hunger, not overeating.
Some ideas to help you eat a healthy snack before going to the gym are:
- You can eat a banana with the side of nut butter.
- Try the ever-famous hummus with your choice of multigrain crackers.
- Greek yogurt
- Meat slices with a slice of whole grain bread.
- Egg whites
- Sweet potato with broccoli
The after-workout food you should keep in your gym bag:
As mentioned earlier, the muscles gain in mass during the recovery period after a workout session. In the recovery period, the tiny muscle fibres injured and torn apart during weightlifting are stitched back together by our bodies.
In the presence of protein, the muscle threads can also gain in volume and increase in size. So, after a workout, the first and foremost vital nutrient to bulk up on is protein.
This fact is why people carry protein pills or protein powders with them to gyms and training centres. People prefer using whey protein right after their weight training as it absorbs faster than any other type of protein in our body and works quickly to help with muscle gain.
The second nutrient recommended being taken after the workout is, again, Carbs. The carbs need to be in the simplest form.
For example, if you plan to take a fruit after your workout, it should be either bananas or raisins as they carry the simple layout of carbohydrates called glucose. We should avoid anything with fructose in it at all costs. This reason helps you stay active and also helps with preserving the glycogen in your body.
It has been mentioned earlier that water should be taken before, during, and after workouts at all costs. It is the essential tip needed to excel at the game of weight training and gaining muscles.
Water helps us not getting tired earlier than expected. Your stamina is boosted when you stay hydrated.
We have now talked about taking simple carbs, whey protein, and lots of water after a hectic training session. Our next step is to determine what not to eat after a workout.
What not to eat after a training session?
Listing several things that you should consume once you are done with your exercising for the day is more manageable than naming all the things that you should avoid at all costs. Your hours of hard work and sweat can go to waste if you do not remove these items from your diet.
The first thing will be any oily food. Unhealthy fats can make your whole day of diet and training sessions go to waste; they are harmful to your skin and organs and produce a negative effect on muscle growth.
Secondly, we should avoid nuts and butter after the workout session as well. Some nuts have a high concentration of fats and cholesterol in them, which can never be good for your body.
As said earlier, fructose or any complex carbohydrates are not suitable for your body right after a workout. The regular sugar we use in our drinks and food is made up of fructose carbohydrates, and this is why you should kick it out of your diet.
Anything containing sugar should be least on your list of things to eat after a workout. That is, shakes, desserts, sweets, or any sauce containing white sugar is strictly off-limits when willing to gain muscle.
Last but not least, coffee should be off the list as well. Most of us are craving coffee as soon as we finish our morning workout routine, but coffee can dehydrate you further. Alcohol consumption will have the same result. In short, if you want to drink something, drink water.