Going out for a run, hitting the gym, or gearing up for a swim? Don’t forget to pack some essential pre- and post-workout snacks to keep you fueled for your activities. While workout nutrition rarely crosses our minds, fueling the body properly both before and after a workout is key to an effective recovery.
Before you lace up your shoes and head out the door, it is important to eat so that you can have enough energy and endurance to power through your workout. To avoid any cramping during your exercise, schedule your nosh about 45 minutes to 1 hour before your workout. Choose a combination of complex and simple carbohydrates that will provide a slow and steady release of energy during your workout. It is best to stay away from eating fiber-rich foods, as those can result in indigestion and bloating. Along the same lines, skip the fatty foods as they can make you feel sluggish. Eating refined sugars before a workout make lead to an initial burst of energy, but it is short lived and will not keep your going as your workout continues. Below are a few examples of pre-workout snacks that will keep you satisfied and ready!
- Banana and Nut Butter: This is an easy pre-workout snack that is quick to assemble and portable as well. Bananas are a great source of potassium, which helps prevent muscle cramps, and they provide the body with complex carbs, delivering that sustained energy needed to workout.
- Greek Yogurt: A simple and portable snack, Greek yogurt is high in protein and easy on your stomach. Pair a cup of Greek yogurt with a few fresh berries and a sprinkle of chia seeds for a delicious snack.
- Smoothies: If you want something a little lighter than the typical snack fare prior to your early morning workout, then a smoothie is the way to go. Throw your choice of fruit, some milk, and a tablespoon of nut butter in the blender and you’re good to go!
The idea behind post-workout nutrition is to replenish the nutrients that your body loses during a workout. Fueling your body after you finish a workout is just as important as fueling before. Refueling 30-45 minutes after your workout is optimal to provide your muscles with the necessary nutrients for recovery. It is also important to stay hydrated during this post-workout period. High protein snacks are ideal for post-workout, since protein greatly aids the muscle growth and repair processes. Below are a few protein packed post-workout snacks.
- Chocolate Milk: Who knew this delicious drink could serve as a post-workout snack? The combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and calcium found in chocolate milk provides your body with the proper fuel post-workout.
- Eggs: Eggs are a great source of natural protein, which will help your muscles recover. Additionally, they are extremely versatile, as you can eat them boiled, scrambled, or sunny-side up.
- Hummus and Carrots: Hummus is made from chickpeas, which are also a great source of protein and complex carbohydrates, while the carrots provide a healthy vehicle for the delicious hummus spread.
To see the results of the effort you put into your workouts, make sure to properly fuel beforehand and replenish your body with nutrients soon after you finish. If you eat well, train properly, and listen to your body, your hard work will soon pay-off.
Photo credit: Samantha Gitlin