Strength Training: Why Meal Timing Matters

by | Updated: December 4th, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

What time is it? Meal time! As an athlete, it’s not only crucial to eat the right foods but to eat them at the right time. Feeding your body properly before, during and after your workouts is an essential component to seeing gains in your performance. That being said, fueling for strength training is a different beast than fueling for cardio sessions, making it ever more important to schedule your meals accordingly.

What and When to Eat for Strength Training

1 to 2 Hours Before the Workout

To prevent hunger pangs and dreaded stomach discomfort before a training session, choose a small meal that combines healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and protein. Depending on your goals and body’s needs, your caloric requirements will vary.  But a good example of a pre-workout meal is plain oatmeal, cooked in almond milk and topped off with raw almonds and fresh berries. Eating an hour or two beforehand gives you enough time to fully digest.

30 Minutes Pre-Workout

This close to your workout, you should be focused on simple carbohydrate – foods that provide quick energy and are easily digested.  For example, fruit is a light, on-the-go option you can scarf down on your drive to the gym.  An easy and delicious option is a date filled with coconut oil. The simple sugar and medium-chain triglycerides make a wholesome snack before hitting the weight stack. If you really need an energy boost, try a stimulant-free pre-workout formula.

During the Workout

Regardless of how long you exercise, electrolytes are essential. If you work up a sweat, you will lose minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride. To keep the balance, choose an electrolyte replacement drink. Look for a mix without artificial colors, flavors or fillers, like the all-natural, zero-calorie Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator.

Immediately After Your Workout

The post-workout period should be dedicated to replenishing lost glycogen stores in order to jump-start protein synthesis. In other words, simple carbohydrates are once again your best friends. To get the best muscle-building benefits, consume carbs first and protein later, preferably at a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator takes the guesswork out of your post-training meal, since it conveniently features the ideal macronutrient ratio and comes in pre-portioned packets for quickly mixing into your water bottle.

1 to 3 Hours Post-Workout 

Your body will need a high-protein meal several hours later, not directly after as many people believe. Reach for clean, plant-based protein sources, such as flavored protein powder, quinoa, beans, lentils and nuts. If you’re able to consume a full meal, be sure to add dark leafy greens for extra vitamin and antioxidant support – your muscles will need it!

Fueling your body with a whole-food, plant-based diet can help you develop strong muscles and support your overall health for the long run. Simply follow these timing tips to see and feel the difference you’ve been waiting for.