Every time you step under the orange lights, your Orangetheory coaches are going to make sure you get an effective, full-body workout. But, every time you step into the kitchen, it’s up to you to get a well-balanced meal that can fuel your performance and recovery during this year's Transformation Challenge.
Knowing what to put on your plate is a key ingredient to your success, but so is the timing and the intention you put behind every bite. Here’s how to eat and hydrate before your workouts, so you have the energy to exercise, and after your workouts, to achieve those results you're after.
When You Eat Is Just as Important as What You Eat
Have you ever scarfed down a filling meal right before heading into the studio? Chances are your workout suffered as your muscles tried to compete with your digestive system. But, if you’ve ever rushed into class on an empty stomach, then you also know how hard it is to give your best possible performance without enough energy.
Timing is everything, especially when you’re fueling up for your Orangetheory workouts. In order to strike that perfect balance, keep these pre- and post-exercise nutrition tips in mind:
Before Your Workout
Orangetheory Nutrition Program Manager Jay Patruno, RDN, LDN, CPT, CNC, says as a rule of thumb, the closer you are to working out, the more you should focus on eating simple carbohydrates. Meanwhile, the further out you are from exercising, the more you can add in protein, fats and fibers. He suggests having a meal or snack that contains those simple carbohydrates and a small amount of protein two to three hours before class.
Patruno equally stresses the importance of sipping water throughout the day, especially during the two to three hours leading up to your workout, when he says to drink about 3/4 of a PATH water (17 to 20 ounces). Then, 20 minutes before you head into the studio, he says to drink half of a PATH water (7 to 10 ounces). “Proper hydration is important for supporting cardiac function during an Orangetheory workout, while also supporting optimal recovery,” Patruno says.
After Your Workout
After the cool down, your workout isn’t over just yet — you should prioritize consuming 20 to 40 grams of high-quality protein as soon as possible to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. “A great option would be Ascent whey or plant-based protein powders mixed in 12 ounces of water,” Patruno says. Pairing your protein with a serving of carbohydrates — like mixing protein powder in milk —also supports muscle recovery and replenishes the energy you used during those All Outs on the treadmill.
You’ll probably instinctively reach for your water bottle out of thirst. Patruno says to drink above that thirst level in order to replenish the fluids you lost while exercising and support the recovery process. “Rehydrating post-workout is essential to supporting your metabolism and muscle repair,” he adds.
Building a Balanced Plate
Let’s put all of these pre- and post-workout consumption goals into play. Say your Orangetheory class starts at 3 p.m. — here’s how you should plan your meals that day:
12 p.m. - Have a meal or snack that’s high in carbs and protein, and low in fiber and fats
12 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. - Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water
2:40 p.m. to 3 p.m. - Drink 7 to 10 ounces of water
3 p.m. - Sip water throughout your workout
4 p.m. (or as soon as you get home) - Eat 20 to 40 grams of protein with a serving of complex carbohydrates, and rehydrate with water
Even if you follow this timeline to a T, remember that how you eat all day matters — not just before and after you exercise. “The priority of the plate should be colorful vegetables and/or fruits, a lean protein source and wholesome carbohydrates,” Patruno says. For help creating a personalized eating routine, he suggests using MyPlate.
Don't let your diet derail your workouts. Getting your nutrition right is a surefire way to make the most out of every hour you spend in the studio. When you’re choosing the healthiest foods at the right time, you’ll feel more energized in class during these final weeks of the Transformation Challenge.