Workout nutrition – Our pre, during, and post training meals are essential for us to rip the full benefits of our hard work – Learn what we need to know…
In order to realize our full martial art potential, we recommend following some nutritional guidelines in our pre, during, and post workout nutrition meals.
The 2 most important components for our workout nutrition meals are:
• CHO (carbohydrates) intake
• Fluid intake
CHO intake: As was mentioned on the introduction to sports nutrition page , carbohydrates (CHO) are the fuel which keeps our bodies working. However, our body can only reserve small amounts of CHO (which is stored in the muscles and liver, in the form of glycogen), meaning that any excess CHO that was not utilized by our body, will be stored as fat.
Therefore it is essential to include CHO in our every meal, but most importantly – In pre & post exercise meals.
Fluid intake: Hydration is highly important for our performance as well as the ability to recover after training, for more information
* Note: In this article our assumption is that most martial arts training and work-outs are both aerobic and anaerobic (to learn more about stamina aerobic and anaerobic training…)
Our pre workout nutrition:
To insure a sufficient energy source for our workout & prevent muscle tissue breakdown in our training, CHO are essential.
There are several types of carbohydrates (CHO) to choose from:
1 - Simple carbohydrates, also known as simple sugars.
These are readily available for the body to quickly process and obtain energy from.
Foods rich in simple sugars are:
• Fruit shakes
• Energy snack high in sugar
2 - Complex CHO
These take about 1.5 to 2 hours to break down to simple sugars.
However, when combined with protein/fiber (i.e. from vegetables), it will take around 3 to 4 hours to break down to simple sugars. When combined with fats in our meal -digestion can take even longer.
3 – Complex CHO rich in fiber
These take around 3 to 4 hours to break down to simple sugars.
Foods rich in complex CHO and rich fiber are:
• Whole wheat bread
• Brown rice
• Dried beans
When we plan our daily routine we must allow for a constant supply of CHO to our body and also have it ready for use in the form of glucose (sugar) whenever we need it.
It is best to have our last full meal 3 to 4 hours prior to training.
By doing this we insure sufficient energy to our body, because enough blood is available for our body to exercise with, due to the fact that most of the digestion process has been done.
This meal should consist of a combination of:
Complex CHO + proteins + vegetables.
Meals for example:
• Chicken breast + pasta / noodles + salad, ice tea
• Sandwich from rye bread and low fat cheese / lean meat + vegetable / bean / pea soup + fruit juice
• Muesli + low fat yogurt + dried fruits + banana
Intake of CHO alone will result in a quick break down to sugars and by the time we get to the actual training, we will not have sufficient glucose in our blood.
(The quantity of CHO needed was discussed in the sports nutrition section)
Pre workout snack:
It is also recommended to add a pre training snack to ensure an initial energy source right at the beginning of workout.
Such snacks are:
•Low fat yogurt
Fluid intake before training:
2 glasses of water 1 hour before workout
1 glass of water at the beginning of workout
During workout nutrition:
If our training exceeds 1.5 hours, there should be an additional sugar source in the form of:
• Energy drinks
• Fruit juices
Such energy sources are easily absorbed and will not interfere with our training and will not upset our stomach.
We should continuously watch over our fluid intake through our training.
As mentioned on the sports nutrition section, we should drink as much as we lose in weight.
Post workout nutrition:
To restore our emptied CHO storage and have sufficient energy to build muscle with ingested protein.
Our bodies' first goal after training is to restore our glycogen storages.
In order to prevent muscle break down for this purpose, we must consume CHO A.S.A.P. after workout! And no longer than 30 minutes afterwards.
This can easily be achieved by eating a fruit such as a banana or an energy bar.
How much do we need to eat in the meal after our work out and what should it contain?
As for quantities – we will elaborate on the matter in the "Meal planning" section.
The recommended combination is:
CHO + high quality (high BV ) protein.
• Pasta + meatballs + salad with olive oil dressing + fruit sorbet.
• Potatoes + chicken + steamed vegetables + desert.
• Stir Fry - rice + beef + veggies + Fruit desert.
The fluid intake should be high in order to re-hydrate our body.
Drink 1.5 liters for every kg lost.
Post workout nutrition tip:
• Recent research suggests that eating 0.2 gram/kg of protein combined with 0.8 gram/kg CHO right after workout,and again the same amount 2 hours after, and again 4 hours after workout - is the best way to build muscle and to restore the important glycogen pool in our muscles & liver.
Meaning - that for a martial artist weighing 80 kg, the recommended 1st full meal after workout is:
0.2g (of protein) X 80kg = 20 grams of protein +0.8g(of CHO) X 80 = 64 grams of CHO
1st full meal after workout:
we can divide it into - after workout quick snack - a banana,
and than - within 45 minutes post workout -
100 grams of lean meat such as pastrami + 2 slices of wholewheat bread + fruit yogurt (125 grams tub, 3% fat) or a small glass (200ml) of fruit juice.
Sounds good, right?!
Now you have to repeat it - 2 hours later, and again....4 hours later.
Off course, you can have a different combination for your next meal, such as:
80g cooked chicken breast + 150g baked potatoes + 200ml orange juice.
• ...But what do we do if our workout finished late and we will only have 1 meal before we hit the sack?
No need to panic.. just have a very good meal, 30-60 minutes before we go to bed.A good meal will be:
A good source of complex CHO (like mentioned above...),combined with a good source of protein - chicken or low fat cheeses, eggs, and the rest...
It is also advisable to include a good source of fat in this meal - olive or canola oil, or avocado or sesame/nuts.Now that we've restored our energy and gave our bodies the building stones for muscles, we can sleep tight.
Workout nutrition conclusions:
CHO and Fluid intake are the most important components for our workout nutrition.
We should plan our pre, during and post exercise meals so that our body can rip the full advantages of the training and for us to maximize our performance quality.
To learn more about Sports Nutrition
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