What to Eat Pre & Post Workout
Written By Sara Prodanos (@sara.prooo). Sara is a Personal Trainer and Physical & Health Educator that is passionate about building strength from the inside out and doing things that make you feel good!
Let’s talk about energy. It’s 5:30 pm, and you’ve made it to the end of your workday…YAY! You’ve changed into your workout clothes, have your favorite playlist blasting in your headphones when all of a sudden your stomach grumbles…*grumble*. Uh oh, what do you do now? Do you work out on an empty stomach? Do you eat a tiny snack now or binge on everything in your fridge right after your workout? Don’t sweat it – we’ve all been there. Understanding our body, what/when to eat and how to train for optimal performance can make working out a bit frustrating. So let’s keep it simple!
Have you ever heard the saying, “food is fuel?” Well – if we were cars, this would be true. But I like to think about food as energy instead. There is no such thing as “good” or “bad” foods. All food provides you with energy – but if you want your body to work at its best, choosing the right foods throughout the day can help you achieve your fitness goals!
You wouldn’t put regular fuel in a sports car that runs optimally on premium fuel, now would you? Now that we have that sorted, let’s get you fueled up *vroom vroom*
We don’t want our bodies running on empty, so it’s essential we provide our body with enough energy to keep us moving and grooving throughout any workout!
Experts say that a mix of carbs and protein is a great pre-workout energy kick. As your body moves, it will use the energy from carbohydrates first and then start to take energy from your fat stores. So why protein? Protein is a great way to help prepare your body to build and repair muscles after a workout. Having some protein in your system will kickstart protein synthesis (the growing of muscles) even before you decide to restore and recover with a post-workout snack/meal. (1)
What to Eat:
Aim to have a meal or a snack about 1-3 hours before a workout. Having a mix of carbs and protein will help manage cravings, keep you feeling full and energized throughout your workout! But keep in mind, the closer you get to your workout – the simpler and smaller the snack!
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a quick and simple meal – providing both protein and carbs.
- Don’t have any time to make anything? Have a Revive Superfoods smoothie, such as Rise & Chia! Smoothies are easy to digest and won’t make you feel heavy throughout your workout.
- Running late and only have 5-10 minutes before your workout? Try our Falafel Pops or have a few bites of a banana! Bananas make you feel full and contain easy-to-digest carbs and potassium – a nutrient that helps prevent muscle cramps!
WHAT NOT TO EAT:
Avoid foods high in fiber/fat or packed with sugar before you train. Foods that are high in fiber and fat will take longer to digest, which might cause your stomach to feel upset during a workout. And even though a sugar rush sounds like a good way to get through a workout – the crash is more devastating than the rush! Avoid sugary treats before you train so you can keep energy levels high throughout your workout!
Your recovery is just as important as your training session. After a workout, your body tries to rebuild, repair, and regrow its energy stores if you want to avoid injury, burnout, and recover faster; eating the proper nutrients after a workout is super important! So where do you start? Replenishing your glycogen levels (from carbs) and integrating more protein into your post-workout routine can help your body repair and recover a lot faster! (2)
WHAT TO EAT:
A quick snack within 30 minutes after exercise is the best way to kick start the recovery process.
An easy and convenient way to do this is a delicious and nutritious post-workout shake! Add a scoop of your favorite protein powder to one of our Revive Superfoods smoothies (Check out all of our smoothies) and feel your body charge up! But that’s not all – make sure to have a full meal up to 2 hours post-workout. Having a balanced meal with nutrient-dense foods like starchy veggies or protein and fat will ensure that all of your energy sources are getting some love. Consuming things like protein and fat post-workout will give your body more time “at rest” to break down the food – aiding in digestion.
- Buddhacado is a favorite. It is loaded with healthy superfoods such as chickpea, rainbow quinoa, and avocado. This meal is well balanced: providing carbs, protein and integrating healthy fats from the avocado. It’s DELISH!
WHAT NOT TO EAT:
“I burned about 500-1000 calories from my workout class, so it’s okay to binge on everything in sight when I get home, right?” Wrong! When we get in the habit of doing this, we usually eat back all of the calories – plus more than what we burned from our workout session. Think about your recovery meals as ways to replenish your body with the things it needs to operate properly!
TIP: Healthy snacking throughout the day can help you manage your cravings, increase energy levels and keep your metabolism bumped up. Snacking on hummus and veggies or greek yogurt with berries always helps me avoid overeating at lunch or dinner! Try making it a habit to snack – but make it healthy!
When in doubt – drink water! Having enough water in your system during your training starts with having enough before and after you exercise! But make sure that you sip and not guzzle your water during exercise! Remember, you’re a person, not a car!
- Healthline – Pre-Workout Nutrition: What to Eat Before a Workout
- Healthline – Post-Workout Nutrition: What to Eat After a Workout