Workout season is in full bloom, which means eating healthy is on the rise! It is not only important to eat healthy to meet our health goals, but it also is important to help fuel our bodies.
One of the biggest myths about eating healthy is that you need to limit or maximize certain nutrients. It is actually very important to get a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and even fats. The great part about the nutrition standards is that they are flexible to meet your needs. They are percentages based on how many calories you eat on a daily basis. The recommendation for carbohydrates is 45-65% of your total diet, where as protein is 10-35% of your diet, and fat is 20-35% of your total diet. If you are spending a lot of extra time at the gym and are very active, you will want to be on the higher side of protein, because it is used to help build muscle. Carbohydrates are our body’s fuel, which makes it very important to have at least 45%, but for most 50% a diet should be carbohydrates. Fats can vary between the percentages, but remember focus on healthier fats, like unsaturated fats and keep your saturated fats to less then 10% of your total diet.
Another way to maximize your nutrients to help meet your goals is to time your meals. The basic recommendation is 3 meals per day, with 2-3 snacks in-between meals. This helps you eat throughout the day and keep your blood glucose levels steady throughout the day. There is a lot of conflicting information about how to time meals and snacks around workouts to get the best results, but according to the NCAA Sports Science Institute, it is recommended to eat carbohydrate rich snacks an hour before working out to increase your glycogen stores, which will be used as fuel. Also eating smaller snacks that are not high in fiber or fat will help to reduce stomach pains during exercise. You should also stay well hydrated before, during, and after working out.
The recommendation for eating after a workout is to eat 45 minutes. This snack or meal should consist of carbohydrates, as well as at least 15-25g of protein. Which will help restore glycogen stores and increase muscle growth! A great after workout snack is ABS Pancakes, because it does contain at least 25g of protein and 12g of carbohydrates!
Getting the right mixture of carbohydrates, protein, and fats, as well as timing your meals and snacks will not only help you gain muscle and fuel your workouts, it will also maximize your results!