Even if you don’t have a lot of time to choose what you eat before and after your workout, the right meal is really important for your health and for a better performance.
To get the most out of your exercise program, you should follow a healthy diet in general. This includes a variety of healthy ingredients such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Adequate water is also a must to ensure complete hydration during workouts.
Now first, let’s talk about your pre-workout meal. If you don’t eat anything before your HIIT workout you will loose muscle mass.
Why? Our body goes into a catabolic state during intense training. This means substances in the body are broken down to generate energy – even muscle! Since we do not want to lose muscle, we have to eat something before the HIIT workout. During intense interval training our stored carbohydrates provide energy before the body begins to lose muscle mass (gluconeogenesis), hence we do not need be afraid to eat a lot of carbohydrates.
Plan to eat a moderate to high carb meal including protein approximately three to four hours before your HIIT workout. And if you can, eat another snack shortly before.
The pre-workout meal should include complex carbs, meaning no sugary cornflakes or white bread, but instead sweet potatoes, quinoa or similar things. You should combine these carbs with some protein and healthy fats.
Good options for a pre-workout meal may include:
- whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana
- non-fat greek yoghurt or cottage cheese with fruit
- dried fruit and almonds
- quinoa salad
High fat and heavy foods like fries deprive your body of water and make you feel lethargic. Oversized portions and huge amounts of protein before training will sit in your stomach for too long and rob you of your energy.
If you provide your body with a healthy combination of carbohydrates and proteins before your exercise you will notice a significant positive impact in training.
Now second, and just as important, is the post-workout meal.
One of the biggest nutritional concerns after your workout is replacing energy stores, restoring glycogen and repairing muscles that have been broken down during the intense workout.
Eat a small meal within 30 minutes of your interval training, this meal should contain both carbohydrates and proteins.
Do not forget to drink enough. With a smoothie you can kill two birds with one stone. Fresh fruit provides the necessary carbohydrates while milk, yogurt or a tablespoon of high quality protein powder provide you with the needed amount of protein.
Some other suggestions for post-workout nutrition are:
- Whole-grain cereal with fruit and soy milk
- Whole-wheat crackers with fruit and cheese
- Hummus and pita bread
The best pre- and post-workout nutrition boosts energy for better results and motivation
So be sure to eat the right meals before and after your HIIT workout to increase your energy and health. Enjoy your cooking and let us know if our tips make you feel different when riding at Velocity!