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What to Eat Before & After a Workout

Exercising regularly is a huge benefit for your overall health. In addition to keeping your weight in check, it can also help you to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and can improve your mood, energy levels, and sleep quality. However, the foods that you use to fuel before your workout and recover once it’s over are important factors. Without the right nutrition, you might not see the full benefits of exercising.

Before Your Workout

It’s best to eat something anywhere from three hours to 30 minutes before your workout begins. Try different intervals to find the best time that works for your body. You need carbohydrates for energy, or else you’ll end up feeling weak and tired while exercising. Rather than feel forced to end your workout early, eat a simple carbohydrate that can be digested quickly, such as:

  • Fruit
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole wheat crackers
  • Granola bar

Adding protein before your workout is a good idea as well, especially if your exercise involves any kind of strength training. Protein will help to rebuild your muscles. Consider a snack consisting of foods such as:

  • Turkey
  • Hardboiled egg
  • Milk
  • Nuts

Remember that staying hydrated is important, too—so drink plenty of water before and during your workout.

After Your Workout

You need to replenish your body after exercising. This aids with energy replenishing and muscle recovery. If you’re not due for a meal, at least plan to have a snack within 20 minutes of your workout ending. Aim for something containing complex carbohydrates and protein, such as brown rice with tofu or fish. Skip out on sugary meal bars, smoothies, or energy drinks. Some good quick snack ideas include:

  • Graham crackers and peanut butter
  • Whole wheat toast and banana
  • Whole wheat toast and hardboiled eggs
  • A veggie omelette
  • A wheat pita with hummus

And of course, remember to continue hydrating after your workout is finished.

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