Figuring out what to eat before and after a workout can be such a struggle but it’s worth it. What you eat before a workout is important because you want to fuel your body. What you put in AFTER your workout refuels your body and helps it recover. Not eating enough before a workout can make you dizzy, lightheaded, nauseated, or lethargic. It can also make you more likely to hurt yourself. And even if none of these things happen, skipping food can negatively impact your performance and reduce your gains.
We know that sometimes eating before a workout is impossible. The truth is that for most people it’s OK to work out on an empty stomach, BUT it is not recommended. So if you can’t even grab a protein bar or the idea of forcing down a bite makes you want to gag, that’s all right. BUT ideally you should fuel up before you work up a sweat—and definitely drink water before, during, and after.
There are many delicious meals and snacks that you will enjoy pre and post workouts that WILL help you reach your fitness goals, Here are some tips:
1. Time your pre-workout snack right.The ideal time to eat is between 30 minutes to three hours before your workout.
2. Drink plenty of water.It’s best to get your body hydrated before you even think about heading to the gym. You should also try to stay hydrated throughout your workout.
3. Go for a pre-workout snack with carbs. Carbs = energy. Carbs break down into glucose, enter our muscle cells, and give us fuel to exercise at our maximum capacity. Your muscles store glucose in the form of glycogen and dip into these reserves when you’re putting them to work. When it comes to what to eat before a workout, eating carbs before you exercise ensures that you’ll have extra glucose on hand if you need it to replenish those glycogen stores
4. Make sure your pre-workout snack has protein. In addition to carbs it’s a good idea to consume a little bit of protein before your workout—especially if you are doing weight training. When we do strength-training exercises, like weightlifting, we create small tears in our muscle fibers. When you rest, your body repairs those micro-tears, building up your muscles bigger and stronger than they were before—and it needs protein to do it. Go for sources of protein that are easy to digest like nuts, Greek yogurt, a slice of turkey, a hard-boiled egg, or a glass of regular or soy milk. And be sure not to eat too much so you don’t get an upset stomach halfway through your workout.
Here are a few pre-workout snack ideas:
• Snack Option 1: A smoothie with one cup of fruit and two cups of vegetables, or a protein packed green smoothie (drink half before the workout and half after)
• Snack Option 2: An apple or pear with nut butter• Snack: Greek yogurt with granola and berries• Snack: Dried fruit with mixed nuts• Snack: A granola bar• Snack: Rice cakes topped with nut butter
• Snack Option 3: Oatmeal with peanut butter and fruit
What to eat after a workout
You need to eat after a workout. Period. Eating after a workout is all about replacing the calories you used up. For one, it’s important to replenish the glycogen that has been depleted during your exercise. Second, eating protein after a workout is a must for speedy muscle recovery, particularly after weight training. Plus, food contains electrolytes (which are minerals that your neurons need to fire properly) which you lose when you sweat.
When you don’t eat after a workout, you can end up tired and battling low blood sugar. You’re also reducing your body’s repair process. If you routinely skip eating after a workout it will be harder to reach your fitness goals.
1. Re-hydrate ASAP.Replenishing the fluids you lost while sweating as soon as you can is even more important than eating right away.
2. Make sure to eat something soon.Especially if you just worked out really hard, your body has just used up the energy it needs to function at max capacity. If you aren’t able to eat a full meal right away have a snack after your training, then a full meal a few hours later.
3. Refuel with carbs and protein.Remember, you’ve blown through that glycogen and torn up your muscles, so your post-workout meal should be high in complex carbohydrates that break down slowly and are loaded with healthy protein.
Complex carbohydrates include:• Quinoa• Brown rice• fresh veggies
Healthy proteins include:• Tofu• Fish • Chicken• Eggs• Grass-fed beef
Here are a few post-workout snack and meal ideas
• Snack: 1 slice of whole wheat toast with 1/2 cup cottage cheese
Snack: 1 to 2 hard-boiled eggs with some fresh chopped berries
Meal: A 7-inch round whole wheat pita stuffed with grilled veggies and 4oz of chicken
Meal: A protein-rich green smoothie
Meal: A veggie omelet with ½ cup of roasted potatoes
Meal: 4 ounces of steamed trout with a baked sweet potato and sautéed spinach