Nutrition is essential for fueling your body and exercise. Knowing what to eat before and after a workout, in addition to regular meals throughout the day, can help. The right choices can help you feel more energized, increase stamina, and boost brain function during your workout. Well-fueled exercise can also help your body recover quicker, protect your muscles, and prevent an energy crash later in the day.
When it comes to what to eat and when to eat it, keep the different fuel sources in mind. Before a workout we want something easy to digest and that can be used as energy by the body quickly. Carbs are perfect for both of these. Before exercise, choose easy to eat carbohydrate sources, like fruit, toast, crackers, oatmeal, or a granola bar. If you think your stomach can handle it, you can also add some protein to this snack, something like a string cheese, tablespoon of peanut butter, or a granola bar WITH protein can be a great compliment to help protect the muscles during the workout while your body uses the carbs for energy. Aim to have this snack within 90 minutes of starting your workout. Check out this post on the best pre-workout snack ideas.
After the workout, focus on replenishing energy stores AND protecting the muscles. A mix of both carbohydrates and protein are perfect for this. Some of the best post workout snacks are…
If it’s a meal time for you, aim for 1/4 plate protein, 1/4 plate starch, like rice potatoes, or pasta, and then add some produce and healthy fats to the meal. A great example of a balanced plate is salmon with sweet potato and green beans cooked with olive oil and sprinkled with sliced almonds. The IOC’s athlete training plates can be a great, easy resource to help you plate your meals on easy, moderate, and hard workout days.
Remember though, our bodies thrive off of regular, consistent food intake throughout the day. Include the above as part of your daily intake of at least 3 meals/day and snacks as needed. Before any exercise make sure to choose something that you can digest easily and tolerate well. If you have a sensitive stomach, check out our latest post on pre-workout snack ideas when you can’t stomach much.
So tell me, what’s something you can try before or after a workout? Tell me in the comments below!