What Does Pre & Post Workout Mean?

Shot of a young man stretching before a run

For some, a "workout" includes the entire exercise session: the warm-up, the main exercise session and the cool-down. For others, the warm-up and initial stretching session are separate pre-workout activities, while the cool-down and second stretching period are part of the post-workout session. In general, what you do pre-workout helps fuel your exercise session and prevent injury, and what you do post-workout helps build muscle, replace lost nutrients and keep you limber.

What is good Pre-Workout Nutrition?

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

Your body needs fuel to perform at peak efficiency during your workout. Starving yourself before you work out forces your body to burn muscle energy while you’re exercising which is why eating before a workout is vital to your sports nutrition. Before starting a weight loss program or muscle building program, discuss with a dietitian your fitness goals and they can help point you towards a healthy diet to act as a companion.

The contents of a pre-workout meal will vary depending on your workout goal, but in general you should eat a meal about two or three hours before your workout that includes a lot of high protein components, some healthy carbs (or carbohydrates) and a little fat. Perhaps a whole-grain peanut butter sandwich with some low fat greek yogurt, but it is ultimately your call. Be sure to get some amino acids and refuse to skip on the carbs as they are important for preventing muscle glycogen depletion. You may also want to drink a protein shake, particularly if you’re trying to accumulate muscle growth.

Some may take pre-workout, or consume pre-workout supplements. Pre workout can help you get through an intense workout and keep up energy levels but they can also have some downsides. Pre-workout can lead to a lack of hydration so drink water or something with lots of electrolytes during your workout. Ultimately, you don’t need pre-workout but if you want to use it be sure to research what is the most helpful.

What is good Post-Workout Nutrition?

Protein sport shake and powder . Fitness food and drink. Diet

The meal you eat after doing any sort of athletic performance helps replace the nutrients your body uses during exercise. Eating after a strength-training session is particularly important because your body must repair the damage you’ve done to your muscle mass. Indeed, it’s the damage-repair cycle that helps build stronger muscles in the long run. Your post-workout meal can resemble the pre-workout meal, though you can probably be a bit more liberal with your carb intake. The American Council on Exercise recommends a 3-1 to 4-1 ratio of carbs to protein in your post-workout meal because the carbs help your muscles absorb the protein. Make a shake with protein powder that contains a lot of BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids, as they eliminate muscle soreness and aid in post-workout recovery. Eat the meal within an hour of your workout to help bolster muscle protein synthesis.

How to Warm-Up for exercise?

Man working out on exercise bike at home

It’s important to warm up before you exercise. Begin with five to 10 minutes of light aerobic activity, such as riding an exercise bike, walking briskly or jumping rope. Follow with dynamic stretches that put your muscles and joints through the full range of motion they’ll use during your workout. If you’re going to work out your arms, for example, stretch first by performing arm swings or arm circles.

How to Cool-Down for exercise?

Cooling down post-workout lets your muscle temperature drop slowly, which may help reduce post-workout soreness. The cool-down can resemble your aerobic warm-up. If you’ve been running for 30 minutes, for example, you can slow to a light jog for five minutes, then walk for five minutes. The post-workout period is also a good time to perform static stretches, which can help increase your overall flexibility. Stretch slowly, then hold your peak positions for about 30 seconds each without bouncing.