The Best Workout Foods to Eat Before and After You Exercise
What supplies the fuel that your body needs during a tough workout? Food! What helps you to refuel once you’re done sweating? Food! While you might think that you can eat just about anything before or after a workout with great results, some workout foods are better than others for your pre-workout and post-workout meals and snacks. We offer some suggestions below, but this is by no means a thorough list. Do a little research. Give your meals and snacks, both before and after you workout, some serious considerations. Wise choices can make a big difference in your workout, and how you feel afterwards.
Pre Workout Foods – Preparing for Your Workout
Before you start working out, you should fuel up. If you choose to work out fasted, be aware that it might be like driving a car on empty. When you have food in your system, you will have plenty of calories to burn and the energy you need to get a great workout. Try to have a snack one to three hours before your workout.
- Peanut Butter & Jelly – This classic staple of lunch boxes offers you a winning combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat. The carbs in the bread and jelly will give you a boost of energy, while the peanut butter provides healthy fat and a dose of protein to help you feel full. If you’re only doing a short or low-impact workout, stick to a half sandwich.
- Oatmeal with Milk and Fruit – If you work out early in the day, a light breakfast like oatmeal and milk with a garnish of fruit is perfect. Oatmeal has healthy fiber that will keep you feeling full. When you combine fruit with your oatmeal, your body will take longer to digest the carbs and keep your blood sugar steady. That means you’ll feel energetic for longer.
- Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie – Smoothies are very easy on your digestion, so you won’t deal with any feelings of sluggishness during your exercises. Instead of purchasing a pre-made smoothie filled with added sugars and sweeteners, make your own with yogurt and fruit. The fruit will give you plenty of carbs for energy, while the yogurt will give you an added boost of protein.
Post Workout Foods – Restoring Your Engergy
After a workout, it’s tempting to eat a lot of food — after all, you worked so hard! However, the best choices will replenish your energy stores and allow you to feel full without overdoing it. Here are a few examples.
- Egg and Toast – An over easy or scrambled egg on toast is a great snack to give your body some carbs and fiber to regulate your blood sugar. Eggs are filled with all nine of the amino acids your body utilizes to build muscle, so they’re a great choice.
- Chocolate Milk – This one might sound silly to some, but chocolate milk is an awesome post-workout snack. It has a great ratio of carbs to protein and will help to refuel your muscles after you’re done working out. It can assist with recovery more than a traditional electrolyte drink as well!
- Greek Yogurt and Fruit – A single cup of Greek yogurt boasts a whopping 20 grams of protein, and you can kick up the nutrients even more by adding some healthy carbs in the form of fruit. Choose an antioxidant-rich fruit like blueberries or pomegranates for an even better boost.
Make Wise Choices – Feel Better
Choosing your before and after workout meals and snacks carefully can have a huge effect on how you feel during and after your workout. Chips and a soda might go down easy and satisfy your immediate cravings right after a workout, but they won't do much to restore your depleted nutrients. As we noted at the beginning, this is not supposed to be a comprehensive list. There are hundreds of good choices to make. So, when you're getting ready to stock up before a workout, or replenish when you're done, give it some thought and choose wisely. It can make a big difference.
RX Fitness Equipment Is Here to Help You Make the Best Choices
If you have questions about your diet and how it connects to your fitness routine, and you'd like to discuss it with a professional, RX Fitness works hundreds of nutritionists, personal trainers and professional coaches. We're happy to refer you to one who can help. If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget. And, for some great advice about equipment and accessories, don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.
Contact Tim Adams for a free consultation or stop by the store and take something for a test drive. We’re here to help.