If you’re spending a lot of time creating and abiding by your workout plan, a healthy meal plan will enable you to get the most out of your efforts. When creating a nutrition program to parallel your high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, remember that a solid base of healthful ingredients must provide the calories and macronutrients to provide energy stores and fuel during your workouts. Francois et al. (2017) observed that carbohydrate-restriction improves body composition and blood lipids while HIIT rapidly improve glucose control and cardiorespiratory fitness. The combination of restricting a high intake of carbohydrates as well as performing HIIT maximizes the benefits of both approaches (Francois et al. 2017).
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Things to remember for your HIIT nutrition plan:
1. Ensure that you are adequately hydrated during your HIIT workouts. Water, water, and more water. Dehydration while working out will inhibit success and gains.
2. An effective HIIT and nutrition program can have serious health benefits for an individual – such as improved cardiovascular health, increased strength, improvements in blood pressure, and improved overall body composition.
3. The best pre and post nutrition programs work when they boost energy for a workout and in your life overall, as well as results.
4. Nutritional needs vary by individual and by workout plan. There are pre and post workout plans that cater towards the “average” individual or athlete to achieve general gains and improvements.
Meal plan: pre-workout:
Three to four hours before a HIIT workout, plan on moderate-to-high carbohydrate intake, and a moderately high intake of protein. Examples would be dried fruit, trail mix and nuts, a Greek-yogurt smoothie with fruit in it, cottage cheese with trail mix or nuts, a peanut butter with banana, or whole-wheat/grain toast with peanut butter.
Meal plan: post-workout:
Within an hour of your HIIT workout, consume a snack that is high in carbohydrates. Your post-workout meal plan is not dissimilar to your pre-workout meal plan. Make sure your intake is moderate to high in carbohydrates and moderate to high in protein. Avocados or guacamole with pita, pita and hummus, whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana, fruit, cheese, and crackers, or cereal that is high in carbohydrates with fruit and soy milk.
The pre-workout meal plan and the post-workout meal plan are equally important, but the post-workout meal plan is crucial in restoring your energy and repairing muscles that have been severely beaten and broken down during your HIIT workout session.
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Francois, M., Gillen, J., & Little, J. (2017). “Carbohydrate-Restriction with High-Intensity Interval Training: An Optimal Combination for Treating Metabolic Diseases?” Frontiers in Nutrition, 4, 49.
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