What do ordinary people usually eat before and after exercise? Typically, there is a standard set: some carbohydrates before the workout and some protein and some carbohydrates after it. What do famous coaches with a decent work experience eat?
Alfonso Moretti, trainer, bodybuilding champion and The Angry Trainer creator
As a rule, Alfonso is already lifting weights in the gym at dawn. Both for Moretti and his clients, an early morning is the favorite time to train. However, an early training causes a problem: there is no time for a snack two hours before exercise. You will not wake up at 3-4 o’clock in the morning in summer (or an hour later in winter) to have breakfast before a workout at 5-6 a.m., will you? A hearty breakfast less than an hour before the start of your workout is a bad option as well (the feeling of heaviness in the stomach is guaranteed, plus there is the likelihood of vomiting). Alfonso suggests having a workout on an empty stomach, or a light snack of fruit or something high in fast carbs to raise blood sugar levels and provide the necessary energy.
Moretti also notes that if you’re new to these getting ups and early trainings, your body will need some time to adapt to the regime and to maintain a constant level of glucose in the blood, so it will be difficult at first.
Erica Giovinazzo, CrossFit trainer, nutrition specialist
CrossFit athletes need both endurance and strength, so it is important to have a snack both before and after a workout because your body will require colossal portions of building material and energy replenishment. Erica has a favorite protein shake, which she mixes with fruit. Due to this snack, tired muscles get the protein for recovery and glycogen to restore the energy level immediately after exercise, and the liquid version of this snack helps the body absorb the obtained substances better and faster.
Erica also advises to avoid fatty snacks because they slow down digestion and the absorption of essential substances.
Erica’s cocktail recipe is as follows: 1 portion spoon of her favorite protein powder diluted in 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, with half a cup of frozen blueberries and half a cup of pumpkin soup and a teaspoon of cinnamon.
Matt Frazier, author of No Meat Athlete and founder of the Nomeatathlete project
During the training, our muscles burn glycogen, so we need to replenish it, otherwise we will feel tired all the remaining time before sleep. Matt thinks it’s a great opportunity for a sweet tooth to get some sweet snacks. He likes to replenish the glycogen stores with fruit juice, a slice of watermelon or banana during the first minutes after a long workout. Sometimes he uses simple carbohydrates in the form of white bread or rice, but it happens very rarely.
Nia Shanks, coach, the author of 33 Ways to Break Free from Binge Eating, Sane and Simple Nutrition and other fitness books
Nia prefers to stick to the seasonality in choosing products, when it comes to snacking on the training days, especially after a workout outdoors. In cold weather, her favorite option is homemade chili. It warms, eliminates hunger and copes with the replenishment of carbohydrates and proteins.
Dolvett Quince, The Biggest Loser program trainer and author of The Biggest Loser Bootcamp
During his TV shows, Dolvett helps people from all over the country. But what does he prefer to eat and drink, when it comes to his own training? His favorite sports snack is a protein powder with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
His simple recipe for a cocktail on water or vegetable milk includes one serving of protein powder with a handful of fruit and leaves of lettuce or spinach.
Brian Gallagher, co-founder of Throwback Fitness
Throwback Fitness is a training program with elements of games, designed to attract the people who drop out of their workouts within a few days after starting to exercise in a gym.
Protein is a building material for our muscles, but Brian says that some are too obsessed with protein shakes. After one of his difficult trainings, Gallagher once failed to drink a cocktail during the desired 90 minutes, and… nothing terrible happened. He just had a wonderful feeling of being full of strength and energy, and the recovery took the usual period of time. After that, he stopped drinking protein shakes and decided to choose “natural” protein – an egg salad. Now he is trying to use as little powder and as many natural products as possible.
His little weakness is chocolate milk after a workout.
Adam Gilbert, coach and CEO of My Body Tutor
The trainers and those involved in fitting their own body find it very fashionable to cut the amount of carbohydrates consumed. Adam believes that it is stupid to be afraid of carbohydrates and that they can bring more benefit when used correctly as they will not only give you the necessary energy for the workout, but also help to recover faster.
His favorite pre-workout snack is rice bread with nut butter and a pinch of cinnamon. Rice is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates which provides the necessary energy. Nut butter contains a lot of fat and protein; it helps maintain the state of satiety. Cinnamon makes this sandwich not only delicious, but also helps to stabilize the blood sugar levels.
After workouts, Adam prefers a full meal: for example, it can be grilled chicken with Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes – the perfect balance of protein, healthy carbohydrates and other nutrients.
Jessie Pavelka, trainer of the 16th season of The Biggest Loser, and host of the show Obese: A Year to Save My Life
Jessie thinks eating after training is very important. Muscles have worked hard, and now the body is just “craving” for some material to help it recover. Jessie’s favorite version is a protein shake with other ingredients. For example, it may be cinnamon, which maintains a constant level of blood sugar, honey as a source of macronutrients and a natural antibiotic, or poppy powder.
The recipe for this cocktail includes a cup of berry mix with a handful of spinach or lettuce, a portion spoon of the favorite protein powder, poppy powder, honey or cinnamon.
Adam Bornstein, founder of Born Fitness, a popular author
Like other trainers, Adam is a fan of protein foods and sometimes a protein shake is his perfect snack after a workout. However, he prefers a more natural source of protein and is a big fan of chicken and rice. Adam’s favorite option is grilled chicken with vegetables (onions, peppers, bok choy) and a portion of rice, seasoned with Sriracha sauce and sometimes even honey.
As you can see, many of these coaches prefer to mix a synthetic version of a protein powder or a BCAA with natural products, thereby keeping the balance. And, of course, they are all big fans of protein and proper “snacking” after workouts.