I get questions about how and what to eat before a workout but many athletes neglect what to eat during and after. Here’s a go-to guide to help you get started so you can perform better and get faster results from your training!
Prior to working out, your body NEEDS carbohydrates. If you do not have enough carbs, your body will break down muscle for fuel! So, if it’s been more than two hours since your last meal and you’re about to workout, eat simple carbohydrates which could include: fruit, graham crackers, juice, toast, granola bars, or even gummy candies. You may find that certain foods work better for you pre-workout so try new things to figure out what works. Limit fiber, protein, and fats because they take a long time to digest which mean they are more likely to make an appearance during your workout or make you uncomfortable.
Pre-Workout Meals & Snacks:
2 Hours before – shoot for 300-500 calories (mostly carbs)
• Bowl of oatmeal w/ fruit
• Whole grain cereal
• Yogurt w/ Fruit
• Peanut Butter Sandwich w/ Honey or Jelly/Jam
Crunched for Time 5-20 Minutes before – shoot for 50-100 calorie snack
• Hard Boiled Eggs
Stay hydrated because for every hour of intense activity, you lose around one liter of fluid. It is important to replace electrolytes through something like a sports drink if activity is longer than one hour. Exercising longer than 60 minutes can decrease metabolic rate (calories burned) with no fuel. If activity is longer than two hours, it’s time to consider some intra-workout snacks.
Intra-Workout Snacks - 50-100 calories every half hour after 60 minutes
• Sports Drinks
• Energy Gels
• Animal Crackers
• Candy (Sour Patch Kids, Gummy Worms, etc.)
After your workout, you need to eat! Protein is particularly important to begin the recovery process. It’s also important to replenish your depleted carbohydrate stores. Ideally, shoot for 4:1 Carbs to Protein ratio or around 1-1.5 grams of carbs per kg of body weight & 15-25 grams of protein within one hour of your workout.
Post -Workout Meals & Snacks
• Chocolate Milk (already has the 4:1 ratio)
• Peanut Butter & Jelly
• Chicken and Brown Rice
• Yogurt with Almonds
• Protein Shake w/ Banana
• Grilled Chicken, cottage cheese, and a sweet potato
• Baked or grilled lean meat with brown rice, cooked greens, and yogurt
• Whole-grain pasta with tomato sauce, lean protein, and veggies followed by yogurt and fruit for dessert
Happy working out and stay fueled!
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