What you eat before and after your workouts is critical to achieving your goals faster. Let's face it, we need all the help we can! The body needs certain nutrients at the right time and in the right form to perform at its best during intense exercise. You want to make sure you fill up your gas tank properly before your workout and replenish your body with the right stuff post workout. The best way to accomplish this is to have a meal replacement bar or shake with a 2:1-4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio and very little fat. That means a shake or bar should be between 150-300 calories, 30-60 grams of carbs, 15-30 grams of protein, and 0-5 grams of fat. It takes out all the guesswork when you have a pre-mixed bar or shake. Having a high carbohydrate meal replacement is not only important to give you the energy stores for your workout but its critical in your recovery post workout.
Approx. 10-40 minutes before a workout or your sporting event, you'll want to supply the body with the necessary nutrients to support energy. Again, this is best accomplished by a processed bar or shake so that its in your system fast. If you eat a "real" food meal instead, there's a chance you may be still digesting it while you're working out.
Immediately following a workout, your body is most ready to absorb nutrients. This is called the "metabolic window" which lasts about 2 hours. To take advantage of this you want to have a processed food such as bar or shake because it absorbs fast. If you were to have "real" food it might miss this 2hr window by the time it gets broken down and into the bloodstream.
Without getting too technical, the most anabolic hormone in your body is insulin. When you take in a high carb meal replacement your insulin spikes which increases your natural testosterone and growth hormone production. When you're training naturally, this is a way to increase your body's natural hormone production post workout that helps build muscle and lose fat. If you just had some protein powder post workout without the high carbs, none of this would happen and you're really doing yourself a disservice.
I can't think of one workout that I've done in the last 10 years that I haven't had a pre/post meal replacement. I recover better, build muscle, and lose fat faster as a result. There are only a few companies out there that follow the science of pre/post workout nutrition. Please contact me for any questions you may have regarding what products are best.