“Eat like a king at breakfast,a prince at lunch and a pauper at dinner.”
Remember that old chestnut?
Well, modern science has shaken up conventional wisdom about when it’s best to eat — particularly for those of us who exercise.
It turns out that we get more bang for our workout buck if we consume most of our calories during the periods before and after we hit the gym.
Call it “the bubble of consumption.” It surrounds us roughly two to three hours pre- and post-workout. When you’re in that bubble, you should consume roughly 65 to 75 percent of your daily caloric allotment.
And what happens if you skip healthy meals or snacks when you’re in the bubble?
Simply put, you don’t reap all the benefits of your hard work.
Eating for Performance and Recovery
Fueling your muscles before a workout gives you energy to get through it. It improves your performance, lessening the risk of injury and increasing your ability to recover quicker.
What’s more, if you’ve eaten before exercising you won’t feel depleted once you’re done, so you avoid the temptation to overeat or make poor food choices.
You’re just as wise to eat after a workout. During that period, your muscles are primed for nutrients that stimulate their repair, strength and growth.
When you consume low- or no-fat meals and snacks that are rich in protein and carbohydrates, you’ll find that you’re less sore after working out and better able to maintain — and build — muscle.
Timing Your Meals and Snacks for Best Results
Although we all have different workout regimens and fitness goals, here are a couple of basic principles for when to eat in your personal bubble:
1. Have a meal two to three hours before training and a snack 10 to 40 minutes before.
2. Have a snack immediately after training and a meal within one to two hours.
Of course, you may feel like you’re already putting enough effort into what you eat.
Now you have to time your calories, too?
If it seems like too much effort, consider this:
The most common excuse people make for not exercising is that they just don’t have time for it.
You’ve set aside time to exercise. When you also plan to eat right — at the right time —
you’ll take your fitness to the next level, with results you can see.