Your pre- and post-workout nutrition habits can make a huge difference in your training and on game day. Eat the right things and watch your game take off. Fuel your body the wrong way and see your performance suffer.
Below is an overview of how you should plan your nutrition around your workouts, practices and games.
Eat some slow-digesting carbs about two to three hours before exercise. This will ensures a steady flow of energy throughout your event. I recommend eating a sandwich with whole wheat bread or some brown rice. Then 15 minutes beforehand, eat about 100 calories of fast-digesting carbs. Good sources are a banana or some pretzels. (Avoid Workout Dizziness With These Pre-Workout Snacks.)
The carbohydrates you eat after an exercise session must be fast digesting to quickly replenish the stored energy in your muscle cells. Try dried fruit, a baked potato or whole-wheat crackers. If you drink a protein shake after your workout, eat some fresh pineapple because it digests faster than other fruits. (See A Customized Approach to Post-Workout Nutrition.)
Consume some lean protein as part of your pre-workout meal, two to three hours before your event. Avoid fatty protein like red meat or barbeque, which take a long time to digest. Stick to chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt or whey protein powder.
Consuming protein 30 minutes after your workout ensure your muscles have the amino acids they need to rebuild and recover. Without it, strength and size gains will be difficult to come by. Take in about 20 grams of fast-digesting whey protein during this timeframe. (Check out 7 Delicious Muscle-Building Smoothie Recipes.)
Drink water throughout the day. If you feel thirsty, then you are already dehydrated. Drink about 20 ounces of water with your pre-game meal and continually hydrate until your event. (Read Hydration Facts Athletes Need to Know.)
It's obviously important to hydrate during your workout. And when you finish, it's time to replenish the fluids you lost. Weigh yourself before and after your workout and drink 20-24 ounces per pound of body weight lost.
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