What to Eat Before and After Your Workout
The food you eat before and after your workout affects how you feel and whether you’ll meet your fitness goals. After all, what you consume before exercising is your body’s fuel and helps determine your energy level and thus how you work out. When you’re done, refueling with certain food items helps rebuild muscles. That’s why you must choose your pre- and post-workout snack wisely.
Find out what certified personal fitness trainers recommend eating before and after exercise.
The Perfect Pre- and Post-Workout Snacks
Here’s what you should eat to fuel your muscles before working out and kickstart the healing process after.
Before the Workout
Aim to eat a meal or snack one to three hours before working out as eating right before can lead to tummy troubles. This is because more blood flows to your muscles while exercising and less to your stomach for digestion.
1) Oatmeal and Fruits
If you prefer working out in the morning, start your day with a bowl of high-fibre oatmeal and seasonal fruits. Easy-to-digest carbs are the best before exercising, instead of food items that take time to digest., as they keep your blood sugar steady and energize you for longer.
2) Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
PB&J is a perfect serving of carbs to give your muscles the energy you need. Not only does it add a dose of protein but it also helps you maintain a healthy weight. Eat half a sandwich before you hit the gym as unsaturated fats provided by peanut butter will act as long-term fuel.
3) Brown Rice and Black Beans
Brown rice and black beans form a powerful nutritional combo as they’re filled with protein and fibre. Eat half a cup of this healthy combination to get the carbs you need for slow-release energy to help you work out longer.
4) Roasted Chicken Breast
A lean cut of chicken is low in calories and fat but high in protein. It’s a good pre-workout snack as it gives you the energy to exercise without straining your digestive system. Make sure you roast chicken breast after marinating it with your favourite seasoning and keep it juicy.
Want a quick snack before your evening workout? Bananas are an ideal choice. Aside from being easy to digest, they are loaded with vitamin B and potassium needed to boost metabolism and muscle health.
6) Trail Mix
This staple of campers and walkers is the perfect combination of granola, dried fruits and nuts. This heart-healthy snack delivers a nutritious dose of antioxidants, unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and other vitamins and nutrients. All are essential to helping your body better use oxygen and improve your performance in the gym.
Stay hydrated at all times by drinking plenty of water. No matter what food you eat before and after your workout, make sure you get enough water so you make up for the sweat you lose.
Drink about two to three cups before exercising, one cup every 15 minutes during the workout, and two to three afterwards.
Eating after your workout is necessary to replace the calories you use up. Experienced personal fitness trainers recommend including protein in your post-workout meal to speed muscle recovery. If you don’t eat after exercising, you’ll end up fatigued and battling low blood sugar.
1) Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a good source of protein and vitamin B12. This super-healthy dairy product is loaded with the best type of amino acids to heal muscles after a workout. You can add it to pancakes and smoothies with fresh fruits for a tasty post-exercise snack.
2) Grilled Salmon
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that benefit the skin, heart, blood, eyes and brain. It’s loaded with protective antioxidants and is an excellent source of high-quality protein which your body needs to recover after exercise.
3) Hard-Boiled Egg and Whole Wheat Toast
To put back the energy you burn during exercise, whole wheat toast is a great choice. Serve it with a hard-boiled egg to boost your results. Together it maintains your blood sugar and is a complete source of protein and amino acids to build muscles. If you’re not a fan of hard-boiled eggs, go for scrambled.
4) Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
Satisfy your food cravings without compromising your health by having low-fat chocolate milk after exercise. It will rehydrate you and provide protein, carbs, vitamins, calcium, vitamin D and other vital electrolytes important to muscle healing.
Cooked quinoa is a nutrient-packed post-workout snack that contains proteins and carbohydrates. Have one cup of cooked quinoa after an evening bike ride or afternoon run and make a healthy choice to achieve your fitness goals.
6) Beet Juice
Beet is filled with cell-protecting antioxidants that promote blood circulation which is essential after an intense workout. Prepare beet juice or a smoothie with cooked beet and tangy fruits like lime and pineapple to get the compounds you need to rebuild muscles.
One of the most essential parts of a fruitful workout is knowing what to eat before and after. The nutrition you give your body influences your performance and workout results. Remember, these pre- and post-workout snack ideas are guidelines only. Everyone is different and has specific needs. Consult a personal fitness trainer to design a customized nutritional program so you reap the maximum benefits of your hard work.