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How to Optimize Post-Workout Recovery While Losing Weight

January 26, 2023 by

Lots of us have goals within exercise around losing weight, especially body fat. However, sometimes the process of losing weight feels at odds with the pursuit of other fitness goals, like getting stronger.

While your relationship with food can be a complicated and emotional one, which is why I recommend a nutrition coach, like my business partner Stacey Kadenas, there are some principles that can be helpful to chew on when considering how to best attack your -seemingly conflicting- goals.

One of those principles is meal timing.

If you’re in a cut and only have X amount of calories jigsaw into your day, it can be tough to know when to best feed relative to important moments in your day, like training, and cognitively demanding tasks, like important business meetings.

On one hand you want to feel energized and ready to train, so you want to avoid feeling on “E” when you come into a workout.

On the other hand, you want to recover (aka adapt) to the work you’re putting in, so you want to make sure you’re refueling afterwards.

This process will require some trial and error, but here’s what I would recommend…

Time your workouts so they naturally occur before meal time. 

Maybe you do the 5:30am class and then eat breakfast. Or perhaps you go straight to the gym after work and then go home to eat dinner directly afterwards.

This will help accelerate the recovery process and bring important materials to the “construction site,” without breaking your caloric budget.

However, especially for people in a caloric deficit, you’ll want to get some food in prior to your workout, since it’s likely been a few hours since you’ve eaten.  But it doesn’t need to be substantial or immediately before your workout, and in fact, both of those things should be avoided.

Consuming a carb-focused small snack within 90 minutes of your workout will help you feel like you have the reserves to push it hard, yet not contribute so significantly to your daily total that it feels like you’re taking away from your “real” meals.

I would encourage you to play around with the timing of your workouts, meals, and supplementary snacks to help you feel ready to attack your goals.

Related: CrossFit Competition Nutrition [Podcast]

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