Food, LIFESTYLE

What to Eat Before and After Your Workout

There are a lot of myths and misinformation floating around about what and how you should eat before and after workouts, but in my opinion, science wins. According to this scientific study, a pre-workout meal that includes carbs will help to fuel your body for maximum effect, and a post-workout meal will serve to replenish depleted glycogen stores, shortening recovery time (aka maximizing your workout to its full potential). Planning your diet in this way is called “nutrient timing,” and it’s studied pretty frequently, both in the medical community and among fitness experts.

So, let’s say you want to put this information to use in your own nutrition plan. Where do you start?

Here’s a simple and effective breakdown to help get you started…

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Pre-Workout Nutrition Strategy

Carbs
Carbs aren’t bad. They’ve just gotten a bad rep over the years. The truth is, you need carbs for energy. Once digested, your body breaks them down into glucose to fuel the muscles and give you a much-needed energy boost before you sweat. 

The trick is to get in the right kinds of carbs – complex carbs that your body won’t deplete too quickly, like whole grains. Some examples of some great pre-workout carbs are oatmeal, yogurt (which also contains protein), rice cakes or fruit.

Protein
Protein is the muscle-builder, so it’s great to have a little added protein before lifting weights to build and repair damaged muscle tissue. But even if you’re not lifting weights, eating a little protein before any performance activity is a good idea to speed recovery time from intense training and strengthen your muscles maximum fat-burning.

Water

Dont forget how important it is to hydrate! While drinking a gallon of water ten minutes before a marathon might not be the wisest choice, chugging a few ounces ahead of time along with well-timed sips while you’re moving will keep your body hydrated and in peak performance.

Pre-Workout Snack Suggestions:

1 rice cake with 1 tablespoon peanut butter

1/2 an apple with 1/4 cup almonds

protein shake with 1/2 banana

1 cup Greek Yogurt with 1/2 cup strawberry slices

1/2 cup oatmeal with 1-2 tablespoons all-fruit jam

 

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Post-Workout Nutrition Strategy

Eat Now

The main thing to remember with your post-workout plan is to eat as soon as you can afterward, for a couple of reasons. The main reason is because it will help to quickly replenish the glycogen stores you depleted while exercising. When you exercise, especially during resistance training, you create tiny tears in your muscles, and the glycogen is the key component in rebuilding the tissue. The second reason is that eating soon after your workout will help curb the hunger that’s sure to hit within the next couple of hours.

Plan Ahead

While eating something immediately after your workout is crucial, it doesn’t have to be just a snack. A lot of people like to plan their workouts right before a meal so that they are getting their post-workout nutrition without adding extra calories to their diet. If you decide to go this route, just remember to include plenty of calories for your body weight and activity level.

Eat Protein

Protein is almost more important after you exercise than it is before, because of it’s muscle-building and recovery power, not to mention, it can give you a little energy boost when you feel like you might have exhausted your supply.

If you’re having a snack, 2-3 ounces of protein is plenty, but if you’re having a post-workout meal, be sure to properly calculate your protein portion to fit into your meal plan. If you’re not sure how much protein you should be eating, BodyBuilding.com has a great tool for calculating protein needs according to body weight and activity levels. 

Hydrate

And there it is again. You simply can’t get away from giving your body all the liquid it needs to stay hydrated and functioning properly. If you haven’t been sipping water throughout your workout, drink a few ounces immediately after. Chugging a large quantity after an intense cardio session could make you nauseous, so sip slowly if you feel winded. I like keeping my water in this bottle since it keeps my water chilled for 24 hours!

Post-Workout Snack Suggestions:

2 boiled eggs
8 ounces milk
1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1 8-ounce protein shake

Fuel Up!

The key to any healthy lifestyle is getting the proper amount of each nutrient your body needs, and the harder you work out, the more it uses. Nutrient timing is simply a way to help your body perform at its best and get the results you want to see. Do your research, find a meal plan that works for you and get to work! Your summer body will thank you!

Stay Inspired!
Jana

36 Comments
  • Lauren says:

    This is so helpful! Thanks for sharing this with us! Apparently hot chocolate is also perfect for an after-workout. 😉

  • eff says:

    Came here for workout tips stayed for better lifestyle.

  • Jae says:

    This was such a helpful post!
    Jae | http://www.allthatjae.com

  • Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this great piece of advise, Chriselle! <3 🙂 I always don't know what to eat before a workout, so this was definitely very helpful!

    XO, Elizabeth
    http://clothestoyouuu.com/

  • paul says:

    that looks good, but I know what I would be eating before and after my workout

  • Kiri says:

    Totally agree with the protein.
    However I prefer to get mine from natural sources – I never eat packaged anything and def not protein powder.
    I like chicken and lean steak with vegetables after and almonds and an apple before I work out.
    Kiri
    Set to Glow
    http://www.settoglow.com.au

  • Joy says:

    Thanks for the suggestions, I absolutely love and will try them all.
    http://www.lifestylespiration.com

  • Linda says:

    These are such great tips!

    Linda
    Blog || Instagram

  • Aria Di Bari says:

    what a great selection of tips, I’ll have to try some of these!

    http://ariadibari.com

  • Shloka says:

    This is such a good selection of tips and I love all the suggestions! I always struggle with what to eat before a work out but I literalliy had a sigh of relief when I read carbs!!

    x
    Shloka
    http://thesilksneaker.com

  • Liena Snow says:

    Great post, thank you for sharing this advice. I usually have some fruit before a workout, oatmeal is my favourite as well.
    Love xx
    http://www.lienasnow.com

  • Nut butters and rice cakes are by far my favorite before a workout! This is a great breakdown, Chriselle! x

    http://www.chevronsandeclairs.com/blog

  • rhe says:

    thanks for the tips! i never think about what i eat before or after work-outs lol

    http://frheak.net

  • Vivian says:

    Thanks so much for this Chriselle. I just never know what to eat before working out that I end up not eating at all… The rice cake and peanut butter sounds so yummy 😉

    Vivian | LIVE . IN . LOVE
    IG | @VIVIYUNN_
    ~

  • Jes says:

    Hi! This is so helpful! What’s the difference between the perfect fit protein and the teras whey protein? Can you use either or for before and after work out? Thank you!

  • Jennifer says:

    These are great tips! I’m definitely making it a goal to eat properly before and after my workouts now.
    http://www.petiteandhungry.com

  • love this – i tend to get lazy about eating after a workout – these are easy and quick snacks!!

    xoxo

    Lourdes
    http://plsdotell.com/2017/05/03/the-locals-williamsburg/

  • La Bijoux Bella | by mia says:

    I normally eat fresh fruits, lots of them before and after my excercise. It’s the most refreshing feeling. I love the idea of having an oatmeal or a yogurt too! 🙂
    Great post!

    🌸LA BIJOUX BELLA 🌸| By Mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

  • Kay Nguyen says:

    Before working out I like to have half of a protein shake and have the rest after working out plus an avocado toast! So good <3

    http://www.myblackcloset.com/

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