Choosing the right foods to fuel your body with before and after your workout can boost your fitness performance and optimize the benefits of exercise. Ready to power through your workout? Keep reading for tips about what to eat before and after a workout to make the most out of it.
As with most topics in nutrition, nutritional advice is best given when based on the individual given their personal circumstance. Each person is different, so keep in mind, these are general recommendations and the best way to get individualized advice is to meet with a dietitian one-on-one.
When should I eat?
The optimal time to eat before a work out is 1.5 to 3 hours before your workout. If you eat too closely to the time you work out, your stomach may hurt.
After working out, make sure to eat within 30 minutes to refuel and rebuild muscle tissue.
What to eat before a workout:
Focus on a combination of complex and simple carbs so that the release of energy during your workout is slow and steady throughout your workout.
- Peanut butter (2 tablespoons) and celery sticks (2-3 sticks)
- Small sweet potato with steamed vegetables and a drizzle of olive oil (1 cup)
- Apple and walnuts (1/4 cup)
- Greek yogurt (6 oz) and nuts
- Multigrain crackers (8-10 each) with hummus (2 tablespoons)
- Whole wheat toast (1 slice) with 1/2 sliced banana
- Smoothie (1/2 cup green leafy vegetable, 1/2 banana, 1 cup almond milk, 1 handful of berries)
What to eat after a workout:
After a workout, consume protein and some carbohydrate is best immediately after exercise to aid in recovery, maximize exercise benefits, and help maintain lean muscle:
- Whole wheat toast (1 slice) and scrambled egg (1 each)
- Hard boiled egg (1 each) and trail mix (1 handful)
- Protein shake (1/2 cup green leafy vegetable, 1/2 banana, 1 cup almond milk, 1 scoop of protein powder)
- Steamed or sauteed vegetables (1 cup) and non-GMO tofu (1/2 cup)
- Quinoa bowl (1 cup) with blackberries (1 cup) and pecans (1/4 cup)
- Whole-wheat bread (2 slices) with turkey (2 slices), guacamole (2 tablespoons)
- Brown rice (1/2 cup) with beans (1/2 cup), guacamole (2 tablespoons), and salsa
- Low fat chocolate milk (1 cup)
- Whole-wheat bread (2 slices) with tuna (3 ounces) mixed with lemon juice (1 oz), salt and pepper to season
- Greek yogurt (6 oz) with fruit (2 oz) and nuts (2 tablespoons)