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Eating Before and After a Workout: Some of Your Best Food Options

By HERWriter
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Eat Before and After a Workout: Some of Your Best Food Options svetlana foote/PhotoSpin

Eating right could make a big difference in your workout regimen, energizing you beforehand, and helping your body recover after.

Here is a list of foods that you should enjoy before and after exercising, to keep your body healthy and nourished, as you burn off those calories.

Pre-workout Nibbles

Sports nutrition expert Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, when interviewed by WebMD, said that we need high quality carbs, lean proteins, heart-healthy fats, and fluids to supercharge our workout before we hit the treadmill.

Our muscles get quick energy from carbohydrates. According to Harvard University, the healthiest sources of carbohydrates are unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans.

These options not only give you the boost you need before your workout, they also keep your body healthy by delivering vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Proteins, on the other hand, are necessary for our blood cells to function properly. These cells carry nutrients and oxgyen to our muscles, keeping them in top shape during exercise.

Looking for an easy, yet delicious, pre-workout meal? Peanut butter and banana toast may be the answer! Make sure the toast is whole grain. According to Fitness Magazine, this easy-to-digest combo helps release energy slowly and steadily throughout your workout.

Bananas are also a great source of potassium, replenishing your potassium levels that drop when you sweat a lot.

Other good choices as pre-workout meal options can be oatmeal with fresh fruit, or Greek yogurt with trail mix.

Staying hydrated is also key. Make sure you drink plenty of water before your workout to keep your body performing at its best.

Post-workout Meals

A good workout depletes your muscles of glycogen, which is the fuel stored in your muscles for energy. Shape magazine recommends eating a combination of protein and a little healthy carbohydrate 30 minutes to an hour after your workout.

You'll replenish these glycogen stores, help build and repair the muscles that were broken down during exercise, and keep your metabolism running.

A veggie omelet with avocado is a good post-workout meal that fits this criteria, according to Fitness Magazine. Eggs are a good source of protein that will help your muscles recover, and veggies give you healthy carbohydrates.

Avocado can help your body better absorb fat-soluble nutrients in your veggies, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, boosting the power of your nourishing post-workout meal.

You can also enjoy some grilled chicken with mixed veggies to reap similar health benefits.

Your body’s ability to restore the depleted energy reserves decreases by 50 percent if you wait around two hours after your workout to have a meal, compared to eating right away. That is why it is always a good idea to bring a snack with you to the gym to nibble on after you’re done with your workout.

Good old chocolate milk is an all-round excellent post-workout snack, as it provides your muscles with carbs and protein for recovery, and its water content replaces the fluid you lost to sweating. You can enjoy this box of happiness after your workout, guilt-free!


Carbohydrates. Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Retrieved September 1, 2015.

The best foods to eat before and after your workout. Shape Magazine. Retrieved September 1, 2015.

What to eat before and after a workout. Fitness Magazine. Retrived September 1, 2015.

What to eat before, during, and after exercise. WebMD. Retrieved September 1, 2015.

Reviewed September 1, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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