Rachel40

Don't understand the point of PWO meals

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I'm on about day 34 and staying on plan because I haven't seen all the benefits I want. I just started working out again a few days ago. Here's the thing: I really don't understand the whole "pre-workout"/"post-workout" thing and how neither is supposed to replace breakfast. For one thing, I won't always do a meal pre-workout, because I often do yoga or some ab stuff, and that just doesn't work well with food. But on the days I do strength-training, I'm not sure what to do. I only have a little time in the morning, so I usually work out first, then eat my regular breakfast. But the way the meal-planning template is set up, it says I'm supposed to have a pre-workout meal, workout, then have a post-workout meal, then at some point have breakfast. I think if I follow that plan I'm looking at about 3 hours or more before I can leave the house. Not do-able. Does anyone just throw this out completely and just eat 3 meals? I'm planning on working out 30 minutes a day... I just started P90X3.

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Your body needs extra nutrition when you workout. If you eat three Whole30-template-size meals on days you workout, you will not be eating enough. So the meal template calls for eating extra meals on days you workout. Neat huh! You eat more when your body is burning extra energy and you eat less on other days.

 

The food you eat to support workouts is not like other meals. Muscles are especially open to protein and carbs for a few minutes after working out. So immediately after a workout, it is ideal to consume lean protein and starchy veggies. The protein feeds hungry muscles and the veggies replenish muscle glycogen. Post-workout food should include no fat because fat slows digestion and will keep protein from moving through your system as fast as is ideal. 

 

I thought post-workout meals were silly even after I was familiar with the reasons behind them. Eventually, however, I trusted Dallas and Melissa Hartwig enough to experiment with eating a post-workout meal. Soon I found that I recovered from hard workouts faster. It is not always convenient to eat immediately after workouts, but I know it helps.

 

Pre-workout food has a role in hormonal signaling. Eating within an hour of waking is important to tell the body you are up and to herd your hormones into their proper rhythm. Not being hungry when you wake up is a hormonal issue. The best way to get your hormones behaving properly is to eat soon after waking. You cannot eat a lot before exercise, but something is better than nothing. The meal template calls for a small amount of protein and fat. 

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I agree that yoga & abs don't need a preWO meal. I also lift fasted but that's more subjective.

If your M1 is close enough to your workout it should serve fine as a postWO meal.

The exact timing of ingesting nutrients around workouts isn't as mission-critical as it's often made out to be; what IS critical is eating *enough* of the right food to support your performance goals.

The pre- and post- recommendations accomplish that in a simple way with perhaps a little bonus partitioning benefit. But making the system work for your lifestyle and keeping it sustainable over the long haul is the ultimate goal.

Monitor your performance and recovery for a couple weeks, and if you're flaggin' and draggin' you probably need to eat more, either with bigger portions for M1-3 or by squeezing in a pre- or postWO meal.

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How much time should there be between the PWO meal and meal 1? I run 4 mornings a weeks and there isn't a lot of time between the time I finish running, drive home (I meet a friend), shower and need to leave to get the kids and myself out the door. I was thinking I could have an egg and maybe some baby food sweet potato in my car before I leave my running spot but then meal 1 would be consumed 45 min to an hour later. Is this too close together? Cooking food at work is not an option. Thanks!

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How much time should there be between the PWO meal and meal 1? I run 4 mornings a weeks and there isn't a lot of time between the time I finish running, drive home (I meet a friend), shower and need to leave to get the kids and myself out the door. I was thinking I could have an egg and maybe some baby food sweet potato in my car before I leave my running spot but then meal 1 would be consumed 45 min to an hour later. Is this too close together? Cooking food at work is not an option. Thanks!

An egg is not the best choice for post wo. The recommendation is lean protein and carb, no fat. The egg yolk counts as fat. Chicken and tuna are among the lean protein options.

Pre and post wo meals are recommended for intense or long duration workouts. You might also experiment with whether you need the post wo after your runs. I'd still have the pre, to consume something within an hour of waking.

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When I used to workout at a gym, I ate a can of tuna packed in water at the gym, drove home, cooked lunch, and ate as little as 30-45 minutes after eating the tuna. The funny thing to me was that I often felt hungry at lunch when I had just eaten a can of tuna a short time before. 

 

Nowadays I workout at home mid-morning. I eat a can of tuna immediately after my workout and then typically don't eat lunch for another 2 hours. This schedule works for me too. Basically, the important thing is eating lean protein soon after a workout. When you consume your next meal is up to you. 

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