“What the heck do I eat before and after a workout?!”
It can be such a mind game trying to dial in what you should and shouldn’t eat. When it comes to a pre-workout meal, what you choose to put in your body is important! You want to make sure that you are giving your body the proper fuel it needs to function optimally throughout your workout.
Pre and post-workout meals are equally important. What you eat before will set you up for success intra workout while what you eat after to refuel your body will give your body what it needs to recover from the exertion from your workout and help you build bigger, stronger muscles! When munching on pre-workout fuel, consider the ratio of carbohydrates to proteins and how each will benefit your training.
So how long before a workout should I eat?
You typically should have your pre-workout meal 30 minutes – 2 hours before a workout. Not eating enough before a workout can lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, or overall feeling lethargic. Which then can set you up for injury.
What if I don’t have the time to eat before a workout?
Realistically, you won’t always have the time or want to eat before a workout and to be honest that’s ok! If you can’t even grab a quick snack beforehand it’s not the end of the world and most people actually do ok training without a pre-workout meal. However, I would recommend fueling up before a workout if possible!
So what should I eat before a workout?
Go for a pre-workout meal that contains both carbs and protein. Carbs = our bodies main source of energy
Carbs break down into glucose in the body and enter our muscle cells, fueling us to perform at our maximum capacity. When you eat carbs pre-workout, this ensures that you’ll have extra glucose on hand if you need to replenish your glycogen stores. If you’re lacking here during your workout, you’ll likely feel weak and tired. Protein is equally important for a better anabolic response, muscle growth, and recovery. When we train, we create small muscle fiber tears. While our bodies are at rest, it begins to repair these micro tears, which increases muscle mass and it needs protein to do this.
Some carbs that I recommend for quick energy – Oatmeal, Cream of wheat, Rice cake with Almond butter, Fruit, or green smoothie.
Some quick digesting proteins that I recommend:
Hard boiled egg, plant-based protein, Greek yogurt, Collagen or Lunch meat.
Below are some ideas of pre and post-workout meals I personally recommend and love!
Keep in mind that the quantity of what you should eat depends on how soon you plan to workout after.
You want to make sure you eat just enough to fuel your body but not to overeat.
I personally train in the morning so I tend to do a lighter balanced carb/protein pre-workout snack to keep my blood sugar levels up and then I eat a larger meal post-workout. If your workout window is two hours after that first meal, you want to eat a larger meal to hold you over.
PRE-WORKOUT MEALS I LOVE: (30-120 MIN. BEFORE)
- Fruit Smoothie
- Brown Rice cake + Almond butter
- Trail mix (dried fruits / nuts)
- Granola bar
- English muffin + Almond butter
- Avocado + Whole grain toast
- PB2 Banana Oatmeal
- Blueberries, Walnuts, Greek Yogurt
- Banana + Almond butter
- Cream of wheat + PB2
POST-WORKOUT MEALS I LOVE: (30-90 MIN. AFTER)
- Protein Smoothie
- Protein Pancakes
- Chicken, Rice, Broccoli (essentially a lean protein, complex carb and veggie)
- Protein Bar
- Green Smoothie
- Salad + Veggies
- Toast + Egg sunny side up
- Yogurt + Almonds
- Egg White Omelet + Avocado Toast
- Chicken + Avocado Wrap
For additional guidance or a custom macronutrient plan (Click here)
Your partner in health,
Coach Kam | @kamreneefit