We all know how important it is to snack pre and post-workout when you’re trying to make your muscles grow. The types of foods should you be eating to get the most out of your exercise routine and maximise recovery are those that are packed with protein and carbs.
Once you’ve found the snacks that work best for you, don’t get yourself in a bind – or compromise your training results – by forgetting to bring them. Take your meal prepping one step further by packing your snacks in your gym bag the night before.
A mixture of protein and carbs is the best combination for a pre-workout snack and essential for muscle growth, especially for those looking to get bigger, bulkier biceps. Aim to get at least 20g of protein with a hit of carbs to get you through your training session. Lentils, chickpeas and soy are excellent sources and they also come in long-life packaging so you can easily carry them in your gym bag.
Carbs have copped a bashing in the past, but they’re needed for muscle growth just as much as protein. A low-carb diet will leave you feeling flat and struggling to get through your workout. The timing and amount of carbs in your snacks are important factors in achieving performance gains. For bodybuilders, snack 30 minutes prior to heavy training sets and have at least 30g of carbs in that snack.
High protein post-workout foods help with muscle repair after a hard training session. Protein, particularly leucine, provides the amino acid building blocks that trigger muscle growth and repair.
It also helps decrease hunger – after an intense exercise session hunger can often run high, causing you to over-eat and ruin your hard work. If you’re trying to shed body fat, protein may help reduce intense hunger pangs and avoid sugar cravings.
Try to eat high-protein and high-carb foods within two hours of training. Don’t worry if you miss this window of opportunity, though. Despite popular belief, your muscles won’t magically disappear.