Food is fuel. So, it should come as no surprise to hear that it plays an important role in your fitness journey. What you eat before and after your workout impacts your performance and your recovery.
When you’re active your body burns energy. It’s favourite type? Glucose. And it comes from eating carbs. If you’re hungry, you’re going to run out of energy fast. Your performance will suffer, and depending on the length of your workout, you could even start burning muscle. You don’t want that.
The fix is simple. Eat a snack or meal before you workout. Plus a meal after. Your pre-workout meal will set you up for success while your post-workout meal will help you recover.
What do you eat? Keep reading for some ideas.
What to eat for your pre-workout meal
Carbs are your friend. They’re the most important macro-nutrient for your pre-workout meal (plus a bit of protein). There are two main types of carbohydrates including simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs break down fastest providing a quick and easy source of energy to your muscles. Complex carbs on the other hand, break down more slowly, releasing a sustained source of energy.
So which do you want?
The length of your workout will really help you determine how much energy you’ll need from a pre-workout meal. If your just going for a quick 15-30 minute jog in the morning, simple carbs like a banana and some honey will likely be enough to sustain you. However if you’re heading out to run 10-15km or do an intense weight training session, you’ll want to eat more. Including a source of complex carbohydrates, such as oats, will help to provide longer lasting energy over a period of time versus a quick burst of energy you’ll burn through from a piece of fruit.
Pre-workout meal/snack ideas:
- Dried fruit (a handful will do)
- Half a banana with a teaspoon of honey
- Greek yogurt (1 cup) with a little granola
- A fruit smoothie
- Granola bar
What to eat for your post workout meal or snack
Most of the time you hear about post-workout meals – you hear about protein. Of course protein is vital for muscular recovery after a workout, but there’s more to it.
When you work out your body primarily derives its energy from carbohydrates. Once it burns through your pre-workout meal, it moves on to burning glycogen. Glycogen is a source of energy that is stored in your muscles and liver. Your body makes it from carbohydrates.
Once your workout is over, you need to restore your energy (and your glycogen levels). The best time to do this is within 30 minutes to an hour after your workout. Combine a source of carbohydrates with protein for optimal post-workout recovery.
Post-workout meal/snack ideas:
- Toast with peanut butter and banana
- A smoothie (or smoothie bowl) with protein powder and fresh or frozen fruit (like the recipe below!)
- Scrambled eggs or an omelette with veggies
- Oatmeal with fruit and almond butter
Vanilla Berry Recovery Smoothie
- 1 cup vanilla protein powder
- 8 oz almond milk
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 3/4 cup frozen mixed berries
- Water, as needed for desired consistency
- Add all of the ingredients to your blender.
- Blend on high until smooth.
Love your #innerbabe
If you’re having a large meal before training, wait at least 90 minutes before you start. If you’re having a snack, 30 minutes is generally okay. Eating too close to training sessions is a recipe for indigestion, cramping and nausea.
For more pre-workout and post-workout meal ideas join our #innerbabe community on Facebook. I love sharing recipes with you ladies!
What are you favourite pre-workout and post-workout snacks? Share them with us in the comments below.