malie

Pre/Post-Workout Meal Suggestions?

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My husband and I are going to be doing our first Whole30 starting June 1st. I'm working on sourcing the right foods and mentally putting together meal plans to suit our lifestyle (I already meal plan, so that's no big change!).

My question is about morning workouts, and I'm hoping to get some suggestions on how to incorporate early morning pre/post-workout meals that will be appetizing for our... well, sensitive palates. Neither my husband nor I can fathom waking up to immediate meat or eggs as we run out the door to the gym, but I am concerned about undernourishment and want to make sure we're both getting the nutrition we need!

Here's our typical week-morning schedule:

5:25 - up, throw on clothes, out the door to the gym

then at the gym, we have about 40 minutes for a workout - usually cardio, strength training, or both

6:25 - home for coffee, getting ready for the day, devotions, etc.

7:30 - breakfast

My husband leaves for work at 7:45; I work from home so my mornings are more flexible.

Any suggestions for those early morning pre/posts, and how to fit them in and still have time/appetite for breakfast? We're both weird about food textures, which is why meat and eggs are difficult to stomach so early in the morning. Would prefer something blander with little to no smell at that time of day! Also, since we already get up so early, it needs to be something I can prepare the night before and grab from the fridge on our way by.

Thanks for any and all suggestions!

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Does that include hard boiled eggs? Those are usually my go-to pre-WO, along with coconut milk in my coffee. Pre-WO you want protein and fat... There's always the option of cooking up a bunch of chicken breasts at the beginning of the week and having those for pre/post-WO protein. Post-WO you want lean protein and carbs. That's when I will go with scrambled egg whites & salsa/veggies or soy-free canned tuna (I know, yuck for post-WO, but I was out of egg whites & it got the job done) with 1/2 a sweet potato, either cubed and cooked stovetop or steamed in the microwave.

Those are my typical go-to's for pre/post workout. Lately though, I've just been having fat pre-WO in the form of coconut milk in my coffee. Mostly because I need coffee pre-WO and coconut milk is my additive now instead of Splenda & my time has been very limited in the mornings.

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My go-to pre-workout snack is one boiled egg, typically cold because I keep them stocked in the refrigerator at all times. Another option is a handful of nuts, typically cashews or macadamias. I typically eat a can of tuna packed in water as my post-workout meal, but don't have issues about what I eat or when. Chicken breasts are another good choice, but I don't keep chicken stocked at my house. I rarely eat carbs as part of my post-workout meal because I don't usually need the energy, but cold baked sweet potato is a great choice of carbs.

The meal template offers some important info about pre- and post-workout eating: http://whole9life.com/book/ISWF-Meal-Planning-Template.pdf

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Thanks, Tom and Bethany, for the tips!

I am hoping that I can get to the point fairly quickly where I'll be able to stomach a hard-boiled egg first thing in the morning.

In the meantime, though, is it still advisable to at least get a fat serving in pre-wo if possible, even with no protein? For example, a handful of almonds (the only nut I'm not allergic to)? Or am I better off with nothing if I can't get the protein in just yet? Maybe I should just try it first and see what happens. ;)

As well, hubby keeps pushing the idea of fruit first thing, which I know is not a great idea, but I'm struggling to explain WHY. Any quick tips on that?

Thanks very much!

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If no one minds, I'm going to tag onto this post rather than start my own, because I have a similar dilemma. I typically go to Crossfit (4-5 times a week) straight from work, then either go back to work or take the 25 minute drive home.

I've tried a number of things for pre and post-workout meals. The easiest solution for me pre-workout is definitely hard-boiled egg, though I've not been sure how many to eat. I'm guessing I just need to keep experimenting with it, so I eat enough to get that "I'm getting ready to workout" cue in, but not so much that I throw up during the workout, LOL.

Post-workout definitely is the toughest. I was happy when I thought I'd found a protein powder that would do the trick, because...egg whites? What do I do with the rest of it? And finding a carb that's portable is tough, other than an apple or banana or something. But then I found out the protein powder was not Whole30 compliant, so that went out the window.

What other starchy vegs are good for post-workout? Just the thought of a cold baked sweet potato makes me kind of shudder. I ate sweet potato baby food for a little while but that's kind of gagged me too.

So...post-workout. I know fruit isn't ideal, but is it better to have a light protein and fruit or just the light protein if I can't get a starchy veg in?

Thanks!

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I make sure to eat well the next few meals AFTER my workouts and rest, to properly recover..... Dialing that in .... a small coffee with some coconut milk and sometimes an egg is all I need to nail the toughest of workouts....

You'll find that proper recovery techniques are key.

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What's the difference between the protein you eat pre-WO and the "lean protein" you eat post-WO?

I'd also like to reiterate LindaLee's question about other starchy vegetables that work post-WO. Can that carb (which most people seem to suggest sweet potatoes) also just be a piece of fruit? Would a hard-boiled egg and a banana be okay for post-WO?

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Instead of a starchy veg, a banana would probably be your next best bet for post-WO. Also, when I do sweet potatoes, I will pre-prepare mine... I dice them up and either steam in the microwave with cinnamon or cook them stovetop and store them in the fridge. I have found that when they're diced up, they're more palatable when they're cold than say, a plain steamed/mashed sweet potato. :)

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What's the difference between the protein you eat pre-WO and the "lean protein" you eat post-WO?

I'd also like to reiterate LindaLee's question about other starchy vegetables that work post-WO. Can that carb (which most people seem to suggest sweet potatoes) also just be a piece of fruit? Would a hard-boiled egg and a banana be okay for post-WO?

I had this same question.. Why do they recommend not using fruit as post WOD carbs? Anyone that can explain?

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I'd hazard a guess that starch is preferred over sugar for recovery.

Banana would be probably the only fruit with much starch, but I'm pretty sure it has quite a bit of sugar too.

 

Starchy veg: sweet potato, plantains (mash, fritters, chips - can be bland or tasty), squash, pumpkin.

 

There's a big difference in the body between sugar and starch, not for calories, but lots of internal processes, information pathways, etc.

 

I'm sure a Mod will chime in with the details :)

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I had this same question.. Why do they recommend not using fruit as post WOD carbs? Anyone that can explain?

 

yup. better a starchy veg than a fruit, but praxis project is right: if you must have fruit post-WO, go for a banana. What you are looking for is less fructose/more glucose although (bananas are about half and half glucose/fructose, which is high glucose for a fruit), to be honest, the reasons are escaping me at the moment. It has to do with how the various forms of sugar are processed in the liver or not processed in the liver, as the case may be.

 

EDIT. thank you pub med: we conclude that fructose is a poor nutritional precursor for rapid glycogen restoration in muscle after exercise, but that both glucose and fructose promote rapid accumulation of glycogen in the liver

 

YES. because fructose has to go through the liver first, it doesn't get to the muscles as quickly as glucose so you don't recover as well. 

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I'm posting again, since it seems there were a bunch of unanswered questions on this thread. 

 

PRE-WORKOUT, you want a small portion of protein and fat. minimal carbs, because the goal here is just to signal to the body that it is ok to start burning fat, not give the body easy carbs that it will use instead. When you start to become more flexible in what energy you use for exercise (the body fat vs. carbs you just ate) you will find endurance and performance improve dramatically, even if you don't need to use fat/lose weight. This recommendation is for everyone.

 

POST-WORKOUT, you want a larger portion (1/2 palm to a palm) of protein, and optionally something carby (and glucose filled), like sweet potato, and minimal fat. This is intended to restore muscle glycogen and build new tissue in the window right after your workout when muscles are primed and particularly receptive to taking it up. This helps recovery as well. As Tom mentioned, if you feel good with just protein, that's ok. Glycogen will get restored as the day goes on and you eat your meals, but some people feel A LOT better if they get a hit of carbs right then. Rule of thumb would be: if you are trying to lose weight and feel good without post-WO carbs, then skip them. If you are trying to maintain or gain weight/and or you need carbs post-WO to feel good, then eat those. Always eat the protein.

 

oh and the reason for low fat postWO is to get these foods digested as quickly as possible. Fat slows digestion, which is usually good, but not in this case.

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Question: I am like the original poster, I workout in the morning between 6am-8:30am depending on my schedule that day. There is enough time for me to grab something before heading to the gym and I can eat my protein after. My question has to do with Meal 1. In the book it implies that these mini-meals are bonuses so Meal 1 should come later. When is later? Lunch time or a hour or so after my Post-WO meal?

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Question: I am like the original poster, I workout in the morning between 6am-8:30am depending on my schedule that day. There is enough time for me to grab something before heading to the gym and I can eat my protein after. My question has to do with Meal 1. In the book it implies that these mini-meals are bonuses so Meal 1 should come later. When is later? Lunch time or a hour or so after my Post-WO meal?

The ideal approach would be to eat the post-WO immediately after your workout, with meal#1 coming soon after. For me that means eating some protein at the gym right after, then sauna/shower/dress/walk to work, then meal #1. For a long time I combined post-WO and meal #1, but that meant I didn't eat until about an hour postWO, not quick enough for the recommendations, so I'm trying it this way.

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I eat my breakfast (usually an omelette with greens and bell peppers, some banana and almond butter) before I take my kids into school for zero period. After I drop them off, I have time for a 3-4 mile run before I go to work. Post-workout, I've been eating a hard boiled egg and either some almonds or sweet potato (I prefer the sweet potato). What ever I eat post run, has to be easy to eat since I'm headed to work and won't have time to eat again until about 12:30 or so, depending on the lunch schedule at school.

 

Any suggestions to make this more effective? I'm on day 15 or 16. 

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I eat my breakfast (usually an omelette with greens and bell peppers, some banana and almond butter) before I take my kids into school for zero period. After I drop them off, I have time for a 3-4 mile run before I go to work. Post-workout, I've been eating a hard boiled egg and either some almonds or sweet potato (I prefer the sweet potato). What ever I eat post run, has to be easy to eat since I'm headed to work and won't have time to eat again until about 12:30 or so, depending on the lunch schedule at school.

 

Any suggestions to make this more effective? I'm on day 15 or 16. 

 

The recommendation for pre-workout is fat and protien, no carbs, so skip the banana at breakfast for sure. Post-workout you should have carbs and protein (no fat) so the sweet potato is fine, but add some real lean protein like chicken breast instead of an egg or almonds.

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I am going to jump into this thread as well.  I work out before I get in the shower in the morning, then run after work.  But my workout in the morning is just simply a 7 minute circuit I run through twice. i sweat for it, but I am not sure if I should eat after this 14 minutes.  I just don't want to end up eating too much and gaining weight, since I am taking this lifestyle on to lose weight and become healthier.  Right now... here is the schedule I follow:

 

5 am - 14 minute circuit

 

7 am - get to work and eat meal 1

 

12 pm - eat meal 2

 

4 pm - eat 3 hard boiled eggs (on my way home from work)

 

5 pm - work out (hour to hour and a half)

 

6:30 - eat meal 3

 

 

Do I need to extra pre and post workout meals?  There is no way I can get anything in before I workout at 5 am, because I literally do the workout in my pajamas beside my bed.  I can eat something small on my way to work, then push my Meal 1 back a bit... 

 

Any help would be awesome! :)

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Hello everyone I just wanted to add one question to this post....

 

Is there any downside to drinking coconut water after a race? I am training for a half marathon and I'm wondering if it is something I can have post race.

 

Any help would be great! Thanks! 

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Hello everyone I just wanted to add one question to this post....

 

Is there any downside to drinking coconut water after a race? I am training for a half marathon and I'm wondering if it is something I can have post race.

 

Any help would be great! Thanks! 

Coconut water after a race is fine for rehydration, per the Can I Have Guide to the Whole30.

 

Just make sure it's compliant.  ;)

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So, I've been eating meal 1 as my post WO meal but just reading here, I should probably change it up. I just don't know if I could stomach eating anything at 4:30am. 

 

Current plan:

 

4:30am- Wake up

 

5:30- work out for an hour

 

7- Eat Meal 1, which is usually 3 eggs, greens, avocado, and a piece of fruit. 

 

12pm- Meal 2

 

Sometime between 5-7 is Meal 3

 

 

Thinking I should change it up to something like this:

 

4:30- Wake up, eat something small (not sure what yet, maybe just a handful of nuts?)

 

5:30- Work out

 

6:30- Some type of ground meat/sweet potato hash

 

7:30/8- meal 1

 

1pm- meal 2

 

5/7pm- meal 3

 

Does that seem like a better plan?

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If your workouts aren't suffering, you don't necessarily need anything pre-workout. Just make sure you eat plenty of food the day before. A simple baked sweet potato and hamburger patty would do just fine for your post workout, but whatever sounds good to you (go for low fat) immediately after is fine. And your schedule looks good :)

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