Crashing in the middle of your workouts? Can’t seem to lose weight? Or does your workout recovery seem to take forever? If any of these sound familiar, your problem may have nothing to do with your workouts.
While munching on a random protein bar or grabbing a caffeinated energy drink may get you through a workout, there are definitely more beneficial options. First off, snacks are meals … end of story. When you change that mindset to enhance the quality of what you eat, not only will your health improve, but your body will function stronger during those intense workouts. Food is fuel, right? Making smarter choices and timing out what to eat before and after workouts can have a drastic effect on your energy, weight loss efforts and workout recovery.
Also, keep in mind that in order to properly power up your workout and still have energy post-workout, your meals need to have both healthy carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates maintain your energy through glucose. Protein keeps you full and builds and repairs muscle.
Here's a master list of suggestions of what to eat before and after workouts:
- 1 banana with 2 T of peanut butter
- ¼ C of almonds and raspberries
- 1 hard-boiled egg with 1 apple
- ½ slice of toast with ½ avocado
- 1 sweet potato with ½ C plain yogurt
- 1 protein shake or smoothie (with collagen, whey, pea, rice or egg protein)
- 1 plain chicken breast with baby carrots
- 1 C ground turkey with brown rice
- ½ C tuna with ½ C brown rice
- 1 plain Greek yogurt with berries
- ½ C oatmeal with chia seeds
- 2 slices of turkey on 1 slice of whole grain bread
- 1 C cottage cheese with peach slices
Deciding what to eat before and after workouts is like deciding whether or not you want to reach your fitness goals. Eat a sugary snack bar and watch your workouts nose-dive. Eat something stocked full of healthy carbs and protein and you’ll be high-fiving yourself in the mirror! Just keep your pre- and post-workout meals 300 calories or less and aim to eat 1-2 hours before and after. You don’t want to be so full that it drags you down. But you should eat just enough to give you the added boost you need to conquer that workout with energy to spare.