There are so many types of protein bar available, which one should you choose for a pre or post workout snack? What are the benefits of eating a protein bar at these times and how could they help you get more from your workout as you aim for your weight loss goals?
Read on and we will show you why, for some people, a pre-workout bar might not be the best idea and why eating one post-workout could help those extra pounds to melt away!
The Reasons For Eating A Protein Bar Before Exercising
For some of us, (ok, for most of us), getting motivated to exercise is the hardest part! Having the encouragement of buddies to workout with, is really helpful; A personal trainer, if you can afford one will help you to push yourself that little bit harder and achieve better results more quickly.
In addition, a protein bar eaten around an hour before exercising can help you get the most out of your fitness routine in two ways.
- These can help you to have more energy, which not only motivates you to work harder but helps you to get started in the first place! For this reason, it is probably better to choose a pre-workout bar with higher carbohydrate levels than you would normally choose as it is the carbohydrate that will help most at this stage.
- The protein in the bar, whatever protein source you choose, (whey, casein, soy, etc.), will help to prevent a slump in blood sugar during your workout. This will help you to keep going and exercise at your best, throughout.
Why You Might Want To Only Have a Protein Bar After Exercise
For anyone specifically trying to lose weight, a protein bar after exercise instead of beforehand can help your body to burn more fat. Here is a simple explanation of why this should be.
Simply put, Glycogen molecules are a sort of ‘energy bank’ for the body – a way of storing glucose for use when more energy is needed. Eating carbohydrate adds to these stores, using energy in a workout depletes the stores, causing the muscles to start getting their energy from burning fat!
Strangely, it is not the muscles that need most of the Glycogen in the body, the brain and our nervous system use about 2/3rds of it just to keep functioning at optimum levels. This only leaves another 1/3rd to meet the needs of the muscles and all the other processes going on in the body.
When you work out in a strenuous exercise routine, by the end of it, Glycogen stores are depleted and the muscles are getting their energy from fat burning. If you pile in extra protein and carbohydrate before your workout in the shape of a protein bar, your muscles will take their energy from this rather than from your fat stores – just because it is easier for your body to do this.
So, if you eat your protein bar after your strenuous exercise routine, your brain and central nervous system get the Glycogen they need first, your muscles will have got the energy they needed from burning more fat and now you are giving them protein to help them repair and build more muscle.
Remember, by gaining more muscle your base metabolic rate will increase and ensure your body is burning more calories 24/7. So eating a protein bar only after exercising is probably the way to go if you want your workout to have maximum fat-burning effect.
Before or After Workout – Which is Right For You?
It is always going to be a balancing act. Some days you are going to feel you need that extra boost before your workout – and for a pre-workout bar, we really recommend Quest Protein Bars and you can check out the video review we have provided.
For a post workout bar, we recommend you choose a bar from the Simply Bars range. At only 150 calories per bar, these have 16 grams of protein and only 3 grams of sugar. They are suitable for vegans and vegetarians and are certified Gluten free and Kosher too.
Remember that although these bars are great and contain a good balance of nutrients, they cannot replace all the elements of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meat and fish, freshly prepared. However as a convenient pre-packaged source of nutrition when you need it most, they make a good choice – just remember to drink a glass of water with your bar and consume adequate water throughout your workout to ensure you remain fully hydrated.