Whether you’re just starting out with Jen Selter’s Home Workout Series Fitplan, or crushing her 8 Minute Abs routine, nutrition is an integral part of your fitness journey and will help you achieve long-term results.

It’s all about finding the right balance of healthy foods to supplement your workouts, which will allow you to train harder and sustain a higher level of intensity throughout each session.

Think of training as an adaptation cycle in which you are constantly pushing your body through periods of stress and recovery. Quality nutrition both before and after a workout will not only allow you to recover faster, but ensure you reach a higher intensity, and gain a greater overall training adaptation.

Smoothies are a great source of quality nutrition before and after a workout, as they are pre-digested, i.e. blended, and provide easy, instant energy for the body.

What to Eat Before a Workout

The ratio of macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins) required before a workout varies depending on the duration and intensity of exercise.

Carbohydrates in the form of glucose are the primary fuel source for short, intense exercise. Glycogen is your body’s storage form of glucose, and is the first to become depleted after a long workout.

As a general rule, it’s best to consume a mixture of carbohydrates and protein one hour before your workout.

What about fats? Healthy fats like avocado, nuts and fish should be consumed no less than two hours before a workout, and should come primarily from monounsaturated sources.

Jen’s pre-workout smoothie blends all the macros needed to crush an intense workout.

Jen Selter’s Pre-Workout Energy Boosting Smoothie:

½ banana

¼ strawberries

1 tbsp organic spirulina powder

¼ cup almond milk

1 cup water or coconut water

What to Eat After a Workout

Fueling up with the right nutrients after a workout will help to replenish your body’s lost glycogen stores while also stimulating the growth of lean muscle.

The optimal time to have a post-workout snack is within 20 to 30 minutes. If you’re looking to build lean muscle, this recovery window is critical to prevent muscle catabolism (the breakdown of proteins in the body).

So what’s the best post-workout snack? It depends on both the type and duration of your workout, but should include the right balance of quality protein and carbohydrates.

Consuming quality protein provides your body with the necessary amino acids that will repair and rebuild the proteins for overall muscle development. Ideally, you should consume approximately 0.3 to 0.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (about 20 to 25g). As for carbs, the recommendation is about 0.5 to 0.7 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight.

Benefits of post-workout fueling:

1. Enhances growth of lean muscle (muscle protein synthesis).

2. Restores lost glycogen stores.

3. Reduces muscle protein breakdown.

Jen Selter’s Basic Post-Workout Smoothie:

½ banana

¼ blueberries

¼ strawberries

1 scoop choice quality protein powder 

1 tsp almond butter

¼ cup almond milk

1 cup water or coconut water

Hydration

Hydration is critical for pre and post-workout recovery. Exercise causes us to sweat and lose a great deal of fluids and electrolytes as a result. Replenishing these fluids through adequate hydration both pre, during, and post workout is essential to prevent dehydration and keep energy levels high.

Recipe: Water. Lots of it!

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