How to Fuel Properly on Training Days
By Tricia Wasielewski
Training day nutrition can vary depending on what time of day you train. It also has a lot to do with personal preference and takes some trial and error. Here are a few options based on differing training times. Please note that this is NOT the only way to fuel for a workout! Feel free to consult a coach if you feel like you are doing everything right but are still struggling to fuel for workouts.
Training first thing in the morning
If you are training early in the morning, it is not necessary to try to get in a full meal before working out. Depending on how you feel upon waking up (hungry vs not hungry) you can have a small snack ahead of time. Think low fiber, lowfat, fast carbs. My go-tos are Quaker Chewy Bars, fig newtons, rice cakes, piece of bread with jelly, etc. This small snack should be around 20g of carbs. You can also do a workout shake WITH carbs. My workout shake is almost always orange juice (between 6-10 ounces depending on how hard the workout will be), 1 scoop of vanilla protein and water to the top of my shaker bottle. There are TONS of other ways you can create a delicious intraworkout shake using Gatorade powder, Nesquik, dextrose, and other fast acting carbs mixed into your shake. If you’ve never used a protein powder before, ask a coach about the Ascent Protein powder we sell at the gym! It’s delicious!!
Training early afternoon
If you train at the noon class, make sure you get in at least 1 full meal before coming to the gym. You should aim to consume this meal at least an hour before your workout. Make sure the meal includes around 3-5 ounces (18-30 grams) of lean protein- think eggs or egg whites, chicken, or turkey- a serving of veggies, 20 grams of healthy carbs, and little to no fats. If you have noticed that you usually get a good meal in before training and you are still feeling lethargic during your workouts, try incorporating a workout shake that you sip on during your workout as mentioned above.
Training in the evening
If you train in the evening, make sure you get at least 2 full meals complete with healthy proteins (3-5oz/18-30 grams per meal), veggies (with each meal), healthy carbs (consuming the majority closer to your workout time), and some healthy fats (consume the majority of these earlier in the day). You may also want to include a workout shake (protein powder + carbs) during your workout to help with energy levels and to aid in overall performance.
Post workout meals should focus around including lean protein and healthy carbs and are best taken in within 1 hour of completing your workout. The majority of your daily carb intake should be taken in around your training for the day.
The low fiber carb snacks mentioned earlier can be utilized as a pre workout snack on days that you are feeling particularly hungry, or if it has been longer than 2 hours since your last meal. These carbs will help provide energy before your workout.
Also make sure to hydrate throughout the day.
You should be focussed on keeping yourself properly hydrated everyday. That doesn’t just mean drinking water! Make sure you are getting the proper amount of electrolytes as well. You can judge this by checking out the color of your pee! If it’s clear you are actually over hydrated. If this is the case, then you need to increase your salt consumption or add electrolytes to your water (think nuun tablets or add a few drops of Ten Institute hydro cell to your water—ask a coach how to purchase these awesome items!!). If it’s dark like apple juice you need to drink more liquids! If it’s light like lemonade, you’re good to go! 🙂 Shoot for lemonade! You should center your carb intake around healthy carbs that increase satiety and provide long lasting energy. Some examples of healthy carbs include whole wheat breads and pastas, brown rice, fruits, and sweet potatoes.
Feel free to catch me before or after class at the gym or message me on Facebook if you have any questions about nutrition!
CF-L1 Trainer, NASM CPT, NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist,
AFAA Group Exercise
B.S. University of Georgia