By Kevin Hirose – BKin, CSCS
Nutrition can get very complicated, especially exercise and performance nutrition. There is so much information these days, often conflicting, which makes it almost impossible for most people to figure out. Keep it simple:
Pre-workout meal = small meal consisting of moderate amount of carbs, some lean protein (animal and/or plant) and some fat about 1-2 hours prior to, depending on the meal size.
Peri-workout (during workout) supplementation is optional depending goals and type of workout (usually only done during bodybuilding-type workouts).
Post-workout intake should consist of moderate carbs, some lean protein (animal and/or plant) and some fat. Post-workout meals should be consumed within an hour post-workout otherwise the window of nutrient absorption, especially protein, is significantly diminished. Keep in mind that daily protein requirements recommended for the average sedentary person is 0.8 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight so an active person, especially one involved in weight training, will require a bit more protein per unit of mass. That would average to about 50-100 g of protein/day depending on the person’s size and intensity of the activity.
As far as the type of food, especially fruit and vegetables, the more colourful the better – red, orange, yellow, green, purple and white.
And avoid food high in white (refined) sugar, white breads and white rice (especially if you are trying to stay lean).
Here is a PDF performance nutrition and hydration resource courtesy of EXOS (read pages 8-21 of PDF file):
In the PDF, it suggests to eat 4-6 meals/day, but this is intended for athletes, who are active and performing on a daily basis. The average person may not necessarily require that many meals/day and only require 3-4, in my humble opinion. Also, the protein quantities listed in this resource refer to the amount for post-workout meals, not necessarily every meal.
Another resource which is useful is by Precision Nutrition explaining how to create healthy meals using a chart of categorized food groups:
Mind you, just as in training, there is really no such thing as perfect. Each person has individual needs, metabolic characteristics and even varying food availability so there is no one size fits all.
EXOS (performance enhancement training company) and Precision Nutrition (performance and general health nutrition company) are not only both very legitimate entities in their field of expertise, they are one of the best, if not the best, in their respective fields.
I am not a nutrition expert, meaning I am not a dietician or even a certified nutritionist, so I cannot give you the depth of knowledge and the insight of one nor can I prescribe specific meals for clients. But these resources are current and the information provided can be beneficial of your understanding of basic training/exercise nutrition and assist you in figuring out your own basic nutrition around training and exercise.