Best Foods to Eat Before and After A WorkoutApril, 2021
When it comes to working out, it’s important to fuel up so you’re ready to take on any exercise – but it’s also important to renourish your body post-workout. We’ve broken down ways to incorporate food into your exercise schedule.
Be sure to eat before you work out so you can conquer your goals without feeling lightheaded or dizzy. Everyone’s body is different, but you should avoid eating less than 30 minutes before you plan to break a sweat so you have time to digest. If you’re eating a full meal, you’ll want to give yourself a few hours in between eating and hitting the weights. Be mindful of when you’ve eaten and how you feel so you can adjust your snacking timeline.
Not all food is created equal. There are three macronutrients you want to include in your pre-workout snack or meal to fuel your body:
- Protein: Nuts, eggs and tuna are a great snack rich in protein, which helps increase the amino acids in your body to reduce deterioration, synthesize muscle proteins and stimulate muscle growth.
- Carbohydrates: Whole grain foods, like brown rice or whole-grain bread, are a great option for complex carbs. Fruits also provide a great source of simple carbohydrates – especially bananas, which contain potassium and support muscle health.
- Healthy fats: A small amount of unsaturated fats can help you power through exercises when added to your pre-workout meal of protein and carbs. Add avocado to some whole-grain toast, snack on nuts and seeds or use olive oil to cook up chicken or tofu.
As you workout, the protein in your muscles can break down and get damaged, so focus on helping your body recover. The right post-workout meal can help with that! Unlike your pre-workout meal, you don’t need to wait. It’s best to eat sooner rather than later to help your body in its recovery process.
Just like your pre-workout meal, you want to include the same three macronutrients, but focus mainly on:
- Protein: After a workout, protein gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and recover. A protein shake is a quick and easy way to add this nutrient in. Alternatively, opt for a full meal with chicken, tofu or salmon.
- Carbohydrates: Carbs produce energy and your body likely used up your glycogen stores as you exercised. Eating carbs after your workout will help you refuel. A side of quinoa or sweet potatoes is a great choice.
Remember, everyone’s bodies are different and this is simply a guideline. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist for a meal plan that works best for you.