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Post-Workout and Pre-Workout Meals for Your Gains


Post-workout and pre-workout meals are the most essential for you to build muscle and avoid gaining unnecessary fats. We cannot emphasize enough how important the 30 minute nutritional windows are before and after you workout. For your muscles to grow, you must eat right.

Post-workout and pre-workout meals

Protein is the main ingredient you need in your system to build or maintain muscles. Some easy-to-find examples are tuna, lean meat, and your handy shaker of whey protein. An appropriate serving of a clean post or pre-workout meal should have a balance of protein and carbohydrates. By clean, we also mean not drenched in oil, unsweetened, and low sodium content.

Pre-workout, ideally you need to intake 20 grams of protein and 20-40 grams of slow-digesting carbohydrates. Slow-digesting carbs are recommended for pre-workout meals because you need the energy to sustain your body for the whole workout.

Meanwhile, for post-workout a heavier 40 grams of protein and 40 grams or more of fast-digesting carbohydrates. On the flip-side, fast-digesting carbs burn faster. Thus, it’s advisable for post-workout because you want your body to burn it immediately within the 30 minute window after your workout. Otherwise, they just add up and get stored in your body.

We understand that it’s not everyday that you get to meal prep. For days that you need to buy post or pre-workout meals outside, let this serve as your guide.

Pre-workout meal
Grab a turkey sandwich for pre-workout

Fast Food

By the looks of the sub-title, you are dubious as to where this is going. However, fast food chains are everywhere, easily accessible, and cost much less. Before you go out of control and pull into the first drive-thru you see, make sure you choose the healthiest option available in the menu.

These days, just about every national chain offers a grilled chicken or a turkey sandwich. The protein content is present at about 34 grams in a typical serving, enough for a pre-workout meal. Yet you will need slow-digesting carbohydrates to sustain your body through the workout without spiking your insulin levels. That usually means fruits or whole grains. It’s difficult to find a fast food that carries wheat buns, but normal bread has a tolerable amount of fat at 9 grams. Even though a turkey sandwich doesn’t typically contain whole grains, it still has 4 grams of fiber. 

The key is to “edit” the contents of your sandwich to come up with these nutritional numbers. That means no mayo, no cheese, no mustard or other condiments. Not bad for a sandwich taken from a fast food chain.

Restaurant Dinners

It is completely impossible to ditch every dinner invitation to make it home for your post-workout meal. In these cases, it doesn’t really matter if you can’t get your usual post-workout meal. You can take advantage of the prime post-workout period and have a healthy appetizer.

Among calamari, a low-carb lettuce salad, and a dinner roll with shrimp cocktail, the last option is the most ideal starter. The calamari is drenched in oil while the salad is too low on carbohydrate content that it won’t satisfy your body’s needs. Therefore, it’s best to opt for the dinner roll which has quick carbs to refuel your muscles, and the shrimp which is a fast, lean protein source.

Post-workout meal

Late Night Dining

Sometimes we prefer working out later in the evening, when there are much less people in the gym. It’s also more convenient to go on that commute back home in that hour of the night. However, there are those unavoidable instances when you have to go on a late night errand post-workout. Maybe something you forgot to do earlier that day or an emergency. Then you head out to the nearest convenience store– the only place open at that late hour.

In the convenience store’s fridge you find a ready-to-drink shake and plan to match it with a banana. But lo and behold, there is a much better option in the form of a 16 oz carton of low-fat chocolate milk. Surprisingly, most RTD shakes contain a lot of sugar and fat, which you should definitely never consider post-workout. Bananas on the other hand, are slow-digesting carbs, which means they are better for pre-workout rather than post. The low-fat chocolate milk contains whey and casein to cover your protein needs, and sugar for you fast-digesting carbs.

In Need of Carbs

Most days you remember to bring your shaker (actually you bring it around everywhere), but completely forget to bring a fast-burning carb to go with your post-workout drink. Again, you can’t skip the fast carb as it is the driver of the protein into your building muscles. On those days that you have limited options, you could head to the nearest vendo and grab a Rice Krispies Treat.

You would think this is crazy because it’s sugar, but hear us out. Compared to ingesting cookies or a small pack of chocolates, this is your best option. The Rice Krispies Treat only contains 5 grams of fat and 37 grams of carbs. This will hit your bloodstream fast to push that protein and keep your muscles ripped.

Coffee Pairing

Coffee is an excellent pre-workout supplement. Additional points if you are able to drink it black, but a non-fat latte should also work in your favor. But a cup of coffee is not enough to sustain yourself through an entire training session. You will need a slow-digesting carb component to go with it.

In this case, you may want to opt for a sandwich with meat in it even if it’s ham. A typical meat and Swiss sandwich has 23 grams of protein and 44 grams of carbs. It may come as a surprise to you that it only contains 11 grams of fat– much less than a bagel with cream cheese can do.

Lean meals

All of these quick post and pre-workout meal hacks just goes to show that there are always better options outside. We just have to look at the menu carefully and mindfully choose. With the basic guide on which components you need to look after, this should get your gains on more effectively.


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