Have you ever tried to drive your car with your gas light on? If you have, you’re aware of how poorly your car performs with an empty tank compared to a full tank. Your body is the same way! It needs the proper fuel to perform to the best of its ability, whether it’s low or high intensity. But did you know that different workouts call for different pre- and post-workout snacks? Let us guide you on the best before and after snacks and meals for each workout to make sure you get the most out of it!
Pre-Workout FoodsThe best pre-workout snacks are rich in healthy carbs. Yes, you read that correctly—carbs! But like noted, they must be healthy carbs. These snacks must also have moderate levels of protein and a small fat source. Eating protein before exercising supplies your muscles with amino acids for muscle repair and growth. Here are some of our favorite snacks and meals to eat before each kind of workout!
Low intensity: If you’re about to do a low intensity workout, eat some Greek yogurt or oatmeal with fruit! It’s a great way to give your body the carbs it needs to power through. Fruit is a key component because it’s high in carbs and simple sugars that give you that extra boost of energy you need to finish strong! Greek yogurt is packed with high-quality protein, while oatmeal will gradually release carbs into your bloodstream throughout your workout.
High intensity: If you’re about to engage in a workout with high intensity and want a pre-workout snack, make whole grain toast with almond butter and bananas your go-to! Whole grain toast is a great source of carbs, and almond butter and bananas make for great pairing partners. The sliced banana will give a kick of potassium, which can prevent potential muscle cramps, while the almond butter will give you that smidge of protein you need. This combination will provide you with the energy you need to give your workout your all!
If you want a pre-workout meal, try some tuna and brown rice. Tuna is packed with lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which give your joints the extra cushioning they need! Brown rice has the carbs that’ll provide your body with glucose, the body’s main energy source for exercise. Try this tuna stir fried rice variation to keep you powering through a 45+ minute workout!
Post-Workout FoodsWhile different pre-workout snacks and meals are required, post-workout foods remain the same regardless of intensity! So whatever your workout was, make sure you’re eating or drinking something that combines protein and carbohydrates 30 minutes to an hour post-workout. Fueling this way will not only refill energy stores and build and repair your muscles that were broken down, but also keep your metabolism burning strong! If you aren’t able to eat a full meal right after your workout, have a snack within 20 minutes of your training and a meal within two hours.
Your post-workout meal should include complex carbs and also be loaded with lean protein. For a meal with complex carbs, try these quinoa stuffed sweet potatoes! To make sure you’re also getting the lean protein you need, just add some chicken or white fish.
Giving your body the right nourishment before and after you exercise will not only optimize your workout, but it will also give you the proper energy to power through! What are some of your favorite pre-workout and post-workout meals or snacks?