Nutrition is an absolutely critical area when it comes on to building muscle. The purpose of pre-workout nutrition is to provide the necessary energy going into a workout, while the purpose of post-workout nutrition would be to replenish the body with nutrients that had been lost over the course of the workout.

Carbohydrates Are a Must Heading Into a Workout

Carbohydrates are energy giving foods, so this food group is a must-have before an intensive workout. If you are going to be obtaining your carbohydrates from high sugar or processed foods like white bread, sweet biscuits or candy then it's best to have nothing at all. Those carbohydrates give one a false sense of well-being by spiking your insulin level which eventually will lead to a huge crash because the energy from them is temporary. Nothing is more frustrating than having to cut your workout short because you do not have enough energy to carry on anymore. Bad carbs will compromise your workout in the worst possible way so stay away from them.

What Are the Best Carbs to Have Before a Workout?

The best carbs to have before a workout are those that are natural and unprocessed such as fruits and vegetables, brown bread or oats. Those carbs provide long lasting energy that will ensure you get the most out of your workouts. So, if you are going to have carbs then make sure to have the right kind of carbs.

For Pre-Workout Nutrition Go Light

Above all else, when it comes to pre-workout nutrition, go light. A heavy meal before a workout would be a huge disaster. Meals should be consumed at least three hours before a workout to allow the digestion process to take its course. You will be confusing your body if you become involved in an intense workout after a meal which will leave you with an upset stomach and feeling faint.

Save Meals for After Your Workout

The best time to have a meal would be after your workout because at this time your body is starving for nutrients. It is also at this time that your body is best able to rebuild itself once it is provided with the necessary nutrients. These nutrients need to reach your starving muscles as quickly as possible. As a result, whey protein is a great supplement to have post workout since it is a fast acting protein, which basically means it is absorbed very easily by the body. The sooner nutrients are absorbed, the better.

Best Immediate Sources of Energy

Dextrose, which is found in many sports drinks, is very effective at re-energizing the body after an intense exercise. Dextrose is simply sugar and though sugar before a workout would be detrimental to performance, it is a great way to quickly replenish glycogen stores after a workout. Bananas are also great especially since they restore the potassium lost through sweat during a workout.

After a workout some people may find it difficult to consume hard foods but this can be overcome by liquid supplementation. Always travel with a whey protein shake that you can down immediately after your workout is complete. The sooner you feed your starving muscles the better.

Stay Away From Fats Before and Immediately After a Workout

If there is one food group to avoid before or after a workout it is fats. Fats take the longest to digest and this is bad for two reason: 1) before a workout you don't want to be consuming anything that will take a long time to digest, as this can make you feel sick during exercise. 2) After a workout you want nutrients to reach your starving muscles as soon as possible, but consuming fats will prolong the time that the carbs and protein you eat gets to your muscles.

Final Thoughts

The main thing to take away from this article is to go light before a workout. Save anything heavier for after your workout but fats should not be had before or immediately after a workout. Bear these tips in mind to maximize the effectiveness of your exercise regime.

Chris Brown is a 25 year old fitness enthusiast who blogs at Gain Build Muscle. Follow him me on Twitter.