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5 Trainers Reveal What To Eat Before A Workout

While everybody’s nutritional needs are different, sometimes it helps to see how professionals plan for their meals before and after taking on a tough workout. So, we reached out to 5 fitness pros and asked them what to eat before a workout and how they fuel up after. Take a peek at their schedule, from when they choose to exercise to what they eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

(And as a reminder, please consult with your doctor before changing or introducing supplements to your diet.)

What To Eat Before A Workout (& After!), According To Trainers 

Heather Marr, Celebrity Trainer

Before the workout: My dream workout days are when I eat my first meal first thing in the morning and then I can head to the gym and work out before I have any clients. Those days, I usually have oats, egg whites and a huge coffee.

After the workout: I usually have a whey isolate and a fruit. I tend to eat usually within an hour or so of starting my workout and that always involves caffeine, protein, and carbohydrates. When scheduling doesn’t allow for that and I have several hours between the pre-workout meal and my training, I pay more attention to the timing of my meal post-workout. An example in that case would be chicken breast, rice and vegetables. 

what to eat before a workout

Haley Shaw, Wellness Specialist at Amp Up Fitness

Before the workout: When I don’t grab the right food or drinks to consume beforehand, I notice it immediately in my workouts. I focus on instant energy for my pre-workout nutrition, so I can challenge myself in new ways throughout my workout from start to finish. Typically, I work out first thing in the morning for about 30-60 minutes after having a large cup of black coffee with one Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides stick pack.

After the workout: I go for a well-balanced meal of choice consisting of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. I keep protein and carbohydrates high to replenish the glycogen storage in my muscles that were depleted during my workout. An example meal includes 6 oz. chicken breast, 2 cups stir-fry vegetables, 1 cup roasted potatoes, and side salad.

Katie Verburg, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer

Since I'm marathon training, I'm burning around 1,600-2,050 calories (depending on the length and duration of those longer runs), so I'm cautious to prepare properly with plenty of water (adding Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides to my water or drinking Collagen Water™ is a great choice!) 24 hours prior to my workout. In addition, I'm just trying to fuel up more in general because of how much I'm burning. Here's a general rundown of what I typically eat/fuel with:

Before the workout: 24 hours before my run, I have 80 oz. of water with Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. Fifteen minutes prior to exercise/run, I have a GU Energy Stroopwaffle (150 calories). Every 45 minutes during exercise/run: GU Energy Gel (100 calories)

After the workout: In the first 30 minutes, I’ll hydrate with plenty of water. Within 60 minutes of finishing, I reach for fruits (sliced banana + apple w/ peanut butter) and a fairly balanced meal (1 slice of toast/carb, 2-3 eggs/protein, 2 pieces of bacon/1 piece of sausage/protein, 1/2 avocado/fat).

Typically, I crave breakfast foods, but fueling with plenty of protein, some fats, and one serving of carbohydrates can be applied to any meal. I'm not a huge protein powder fan. I try and get my protein in with more natural forms, but some circumstances require me to grab it on the go so if that's the case, I do 1 scoop protein powder with a fruit and spinach smoothie, or if it's chocolate protein powder (or if I am craving something sweet), I add 1 scoop of that, 1 cup of coconut milk, 2 tbsp of natural peanut butter, 1 whole banana, 1 scoop of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, and add some ice into a blender. I try and get, at the minimum, 500-700 calories back in with my first meal post-run. If there’s any other type of exercise, 300-500 calories in.

what to eat before a workout

Caley Crawford, Director of Education at Row House

Before the workout: My fuel typically looks like half or all of a GoMacro bar depending on the workout I'm about to do. It's vegan, gluten free, non-GMO, and provides me with protein and a good amount of carbs to feed my muscles pre workout. Most of my workouts are pretty high-intensity, so it's important that I eat carbs to raise my glycogen storage. The more intense my workout, the more carbs I provide my body with. If we don't eat the appropriate amount of carbs, we increase our risk of overtraining.

After the workout: It’s smoothie time for me! I really love smoothies with a coconut milk base, with kale, banana, protein, peanut butter or almond butter and avocado. A little blend of all the nutrients my body needs to refuel after a tough workout!

Jesse Alexander, Master Instructor & CycleStar at CycleBar  

Before class I’m always looking for a quick source of energy that isn’t going to weigh me down. In lieu of coffee I take a shot of my favorite supplement, Rocket Fuel by Juice Press, an all-natural herbal energy drink.

Before the workout: I’ll either have an apple, or a protein bar – something light but energizing.

After the workout: Making sure I get enough protein in is a priority, so after class it’s a protein shake or salad with grilled chicken (the more protein, the better!) depending on how hungry I am. 

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