Before and After Foods: What Should You Really Be Eating Around Your Workout?
There are two things we need to discuss: why it’s better to eat something before your workout and the confusion between what’s good to eat before versus after. Many people think it’s best to not eat anything at all before exercising, but we need to view (healthy) food as fuel for our bodies. With this perspective in mind, we want to have enough energy so we can get through our workout. So let’s take a look at how you should be fueling up your body to make the most out of your exercise routine:
When choosing a snack to have before your workout, by before we don’t mean you’re swallowing your last bite just as your begin to do sprints. Generally a good rule of thumb is to eat 30 minutes before you begin your routine. Another key point to be aware of is that this is not the time to experiment with new foods. You want something your body is familiar with so that it can be easily digested and used as fuel. The last thing you want is your body trying to figure out what to do with that foreign substance in your stomach and getting sick while you’re trying to start your jumping jacks. It’s also great to add liquids to your pre-workout snack, which is why we love the idea of having a protein smoothie - add some spinach, banana, berries, almonds, and water to a blender. You can get really creative with this - the point is to have simple and complex carbs, and an amount of protein to fuel your workout. Other options we like are a piece of whole wheat toast with almond butter, a sliced banana, and some cinnamon - or try out some crackers with hummus if you want something a little more savory. Additionally, to keep it simple, slice up an apple and add some almond butter!
So now that you’ve busted your butt and ran through all of your energy during your workout, we want to give you something that will not only replenish your body but act as a recovery method to all the muscles you just worked out. As we focused on the carbs with some protein before the workout, we now want to consume more protein with some carbs added to the mix. Again, eat your post-workout meal within a half hour (to an hour) after you’ve finished your routine. We’re going to add a protein smoothie to the list of options again - except this time around, up the protein intake by adding a scoop of your favorite powder. Additionally, other great choices are fish (salmon) over a bed of greens or some quinoa with steamed veggies. You can get really creative with options here, but again, the most important takeaway is that you definitely do want to eat pre- and post-workout.
- Kate Hurd