Athletes eating protein-rich meals after exercising at gym and working out

Protein 101

Confused on....

What to eat pre-workout?
What to eat post-workout?
How much to eat before or after exercise?
How much time you should wait before or after a workout to consume food?

Not for long!

Protein is Essential for Athletes

How much?

The RDA recommends that the average individual consumes .8g/kg to meet your basic nutrition needs. This amount however does not take into account your age, activity level, disease states, and diet history.

Who needs more?
  • Strength/power/speed athletes
  • Endurance athletes
  • Pregnant women
  • Older adults
  • Cancer patients
  • Diabetics

How much do athletes need?

According to the American College of Sports Medicine and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics an athlete needs to consume between 1.2-2.0 grams per kg of bodyweight. Endurance athletes need about 1.2-1.6 grams and strength based athletes need 1.6-2.0 grams per kilogram. A. good rule of thumb is about a gram of protein per pound of body weight, so if you weigh 150lbs, consume 150 grams!

High protein foods:
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Red meat
  • Soybeans
  • Tofu
  • Protein powders/bars
  • Eggs
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Spread protein out throughout the day
  • Eat leaner cuts of meat
  • Snack on high protein snacks
  • If having trouble eating enough, utilize powders

Pre Workout

Carbohydrates are our primary source of fuel and are heavily utilized during physical activity. The glucose we intake prior to a workout will serve as fuel for our so called "tank." No matter if you are cutting, building muscle or just living life, having a carbohydrate and protein source prior to a workout is vital. The best timing to eat before a workout is 30 min to 2 hours depending on what you eat and how your body tolerates food. Ideally the meal would be two hours out and contain about 50 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein. Get in tune with your body and its energy levels throughout your workout and adjust accordingly!

Pre Workout Ideas:

  • Banana with nut butter
  • Toast with nut butter
  • Bagel
  • Rice cake with nut butter
  • Eggs and toast
  • Oats

Post Workout

Pre workout nutrition is important, but post workout nutrition is absolutely critical! The food that you intake post workout will determine your recover for the next 48 hours. Recovery is essentially just the restoration of glycogen (carbohydrate) stores. Post workout you want to immediately intake a fast digesting carb source, This is vital for recovering your glycogen stores. Your muscles are screaming for sugar; therefore, the sugar will be shuttled straight to your muscles and will be soaked up like a sponge. On top of that, a lean protein source or CorePerform Protein powder should be eaten because it promotes glycogen manufacturing. A 3:1 ratio is optimal meaning for every 3 grams have 1 gram protein!

Post Workout Ideas:

  • CorePerform protein shake with fruit
  • Greek yogurt and fruit
  • Eggs and fruit
  • Lean protein and white rice/potato
  • Chocolate milk
  • Yogurt with granola and fruit
  • Sports drink

Source: Kleiner SM, Greenwood-Robinson M. The New Power Eating, Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2019.

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