It’s important to eat and drink the right things before, during, and after workouts!
- Before workouts “tops off your tank” so you have the energy to train hard.
- During workouts helps maintain electrolytes and fuel sources (carbs & protein) so you don’t run out of energy while training.
- After workouts maximizes your training efforts, refuels energy stores, rebuilds muscle tissue, and rehydrates your body.
Let’s discuss workout fueling strategies so you can maximize your training efforts and achieve your health & fitness goals.
Pre-Workout Fueling (Before)
Eating before workouts “tops off your tank” so you have the energy to train hard.
To “top off the tank” start by eating 15-30 grams of carbohydrate, 15-30 minutes before your workouts.
Examples of foods with 15-30 grams of carbohydrate:
- 15 – 30 grapes
- 0.5 – 1 large kiwi
- 0.5-1 cup of blueberries
- 0.5-1 slice of bread
Intra-Workout Fueling (During)
Eating during workouts helps maintain electrolytes and fuel sources (carbs & protein) so you don’t run out of energy while training.
For workouts less than two hours, start by drinking 4-6 gulps of water every 10-15 minutes.
For workouts longer than two hours, sports drinks can be a huge help. Every hour you’ll want to consume:
- 15 grams protein
- 30-45 grams carbs
This can come in the form of liquids, gels, or even some solid food.
If you’re exercising in the heat and sweating a lot, sports drinks may be useful since they have electrolytes that help speed hydration and recovery.
Post-Workout Fueling (After)
After workouts it’s best refuel with carbs, rebuild with protein, and rehydrate with fluids.
The more intense the training is, the more carbs you’ll need to consume. The more you weigh, the more protein you’ll need to consume. And the more you sweat, the more fluid you’ll need to consume.
Post-workout protein needs based on current weight:
- 110 to 160 pounds: 20 to 25 grams of protein, 1 to 1 1⁄2 scoops of protein
- 165 to 200 pounds: 25 to 30 grams of protein, 1 1⁄2 scoops of protein
- 200 pounds and up: 30 to 40 grams of protein, 1 1⁄2 to 2 scoops of protein
Carbohydrate-to-protein ratio based on workout intensity:
- Low intensity: minimal carbohydrates
- Moderate intensity: 1:1 Moderate / high intensity: 2:1 High intensity: 3:1
Some quick foods with 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates:
- 1 cup frozen berries + 1 cup mango
- 1⁄2 large banana
- 3⁄4 cup pineapple
- 6 ounces 100% fruit juice + 1 tablespoon honey
Post-workout hydration needs:
- Drink 20-24 ounces of fluid for each pound lost during training.
Keep in mind that each fueling strategy is just a starting point- adjustments may be needed over time based on your goals, needs and food & drink preferences.
Regardless, being intentional about your workout fueling strategies will help you maximize your efforts and achieve your health & fitness goals.