Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition Strategies for Kettlebell Training

The correct nutrition plan and timing of your meals or supplements before and after your workouts are some very important components to think about when training with kettlebells. This article will shed some light on these key factors and discuss some nutrition guidelines, so you can get started when you’re doing your kettlebell training. In addition, it will allow you to recover effectively. A key point to consider is that you always plan a great workout in the kitchen, even before you even set foot in the gym.

If you don’t have the proper nutritional strategy for your kettlebell regimen; then you are committing an injustice when you try to achieve your goals. If you are exercising when you are in a state of hunger, you will not have enough energy to maximize your fitness gains. If you exercise for a long time without eating, you are limiting your body’s ability to burn calories and maintain the intensity of your kettlebell training. Plus, if you don’t fuel your muscles and replenish your energy stores after exercise, you won’t have essential recovery tools in your arsenal.

What should you eat before your session?

As mentioned above, the main goal of the pre-workout nutrition plan is to start the kettlebell session in a fed state and make sure that all the food you have eaten has been properly digested and absorbed. The last thing you want to do is eat a meal that is high in protein and slow-acting fat, because they take longer to digest and can make you feel sluggish and deplete your energy. When you eat, the blood is redirected to the digestive system to help with the breakdown of food. This essentially removes blood from the skeletal muscles; therefore, it reduces oxygen supply and waste removal during exercise. Therefore, the kettlebell session will be much more difficult when you have eaten a meal rich in fat and protein. Most of the time, stomach pain is attached to this scenario during training.

To ensure that you are full of energy when you perform your kettlebell session, eat a meal that is approximately 300-500 calories, high in carbohydrates and fast-acting protein, 2 hours before starting your session. Try consuming a small bowl of oatmeal, whole grains, or even a small yam or sweet potato, as they are a good example of some fast-acting carbohydrates. If you have to eat 5-10 minutes before exercising, have half a banana or a small tablespoon of peanut butter along with a small handful of almonds.

Staying hydrated is essential for kettlebell athletes because without proper hydration your body will have a harder time delivering nutrients to your muscles, along with oxygen and water to your cells. This will lower your energy levels and make the session that much more difficult. Try to drink at least 2 liters of water per day, but don’t overdo it before your workout because you will feel bloated and sluggish. A good strategy is to drink your water intake gradually and continuously before starting your workout!

As for supplements, you can drink a high branched chain amino acid whey protein shake 1 hour before training, as this will ensure the following:

They are a catalyst for muscle protein synthesis and then bind muscle amino acids to create stronger muscle infrastructure.

They increase insulin levels to facilitate an anabolic environment during protein synthesis. This mechanism allows for the proper balance of nutrition, hormones, and metabolic actions that are essential for you to build muscle and burn fat.

They improve levels of human growth hormone and decrease levels of stress hormone (cortisol). Cortisol is a hormone that breaks down muscle tissue to be used as fuel for the body. This is very bad news for muscle building and weight loss.

A post-workout nutrition strategy

Taking supplements after exercise is very important to aid recovery along with growth and repair. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAS) are again an excellent option to consume after exercise; the question is why?

Well, BCAAs break down quickly and are used in working muscle effectively because they bypass the liver. It is this process within the body that stops muscle soreness after exercising by blocking muscle damage and increasing muscle growth and repair. Furthermore, it increases insulin levels after exercise and this induces an anabolic environment which is a major factor in muscle growth and repair.

They should be consumed within 45 minutes after the end of the session and this is a very important period of time, as enzymes and hormones are actively repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue, as well as replenishing its glycogen stores. This makes the muscle tissues very susceptible to nutrients and the formation of muscle hormones. You should use a simple carbohydrate like maltodexrin because it increases your insulin levels and this will drive the amino acids to muscle tissue. This will also increase your glycogen stores and add a banana or an orange to increase your levels of lost electrolytes, as this will promote your recovery.

The latest studies from 2014 claim that BCAAs cannot be absorbed without the help of Whey Protein. Previously, we used BCAAs throughout the day to further enhance recovery. This could be doing more harm than good. Find a good whey protein with BCAAs.

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