The time before training is often considered to be the most essential, because our body needs something that invigorates it and gives it power to perform as best as it could. After training it is still very important to provide our body with the needed nutrients so that it will recover properly and eventually grow.
A number of products have recently appeared that are exactly for these periods of time. Some products even recommend to not eat before & after training, but to only use supplements. The results of these products vary.
Replacing Food With Supplements
Eating a protein bar or two as a pre-workout meal is understandable, sometimes we are in a rush and don’t have time to eat big meals. Having a protein shake after workout is also acceptable when we have no protein sources left in the fridge, we didn’t have the time to cook or simply have not to go home. But not every day.
The food that we eat consists not only of carbs, fats and proteins, but also of vitamins, fiber and other minerals. It is essential for our body to consume them as long as we want it to function properly. Supplements are always a good addition to our diet because they make the intake of important nutrients easier, but they are not made to replace food.
Caffeine and Stimulants
To avoid caffeine addiction, do not drink more than 100 mg. of coffee per day(equals to 2 espressos). Most of the pre-workout products have from 150-250 mg. caffeine so be careful with their consumption – take a half scoop for example.
Another way is to use caffeine only when it’s really urgent. That is when you didn’t get enough sleep, feel dizzy and exhausted or you will be having a hard training, lifting heavy weights or going for some PR’s. If you feel vigorous, energetic try not to use any pre-workout products.
Eating Only Protein
A lot of lifters nowadays tend to consume tons of protein before and after workout, thinking that that’s the proper way to get lean. Guess what, they are absolutely wrong. It is essential to consume protein throughout the day, that’s what builds our muscle. But without having carbohydrates and fats, we wouldn’t be as productive and energetic in our training and eventually end up losing muscle.
Another thing is that our body craves carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrates provides us nutrients for the good bacteria in our intestines that helps us digest our food. They protect our muscle, being the first energy source in our body. If we do not consume carbs, protein will be used as an energy source and we definitely do not want this to happen, do we?
Fats are essential to our body growth and function. They form steroid hormones, needed to regulate many bodily processes. They transport fat-soluble vitamins A,D,K and E through the bloodstream. All our body cells need to contain fats as they are essential parts of cell membranes, controlling what goes in and out of our cells. They are also the second energy source in our body, that our body uses when it runs out of carbohydrates. This is why we have low-carb/high-fat diets and high-carb/low-fat diets.