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What To Eat Before and After Your Workout

Posted by Jill Derryberry on May 16, 2018 4:57:00 PM
Jill Derryberry
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Healthy Snack

Food is fuel for your body so you want to be sure you are giving it what it needs to optimize your workout and your overall health.  Without enough quality fuel, your metabolism gets the message it needs to slow down to preserve what calories you do have left in your body (storing all and any fat), or if all of your glycogen stores (your body breaks down carbohydrates into glycogen to use for energy) are depleted, your body will try slow you down, possibly making you feel nauseous or faint, or in more extreme cases may eat away at your muscles when it runs on empty.  Not fueling properly for your workout can be bad for your blood sugar, your muscles and ruin your performance.  

Fueling for (and recovering from) exercise matters most when you are performing a longer and more intense workout.  No matter what you are doing, though, you want to make sure to eat any small snacks at least 20 - 30 minutes pre-workout, which leaves time for digestion.  Keep any bigger meals to at least two hours before your workout. 

Before Your Workout: If you are eating an hour or two before a workout, make sure to eat a small amount of something easily digestible. Try to stay away from anything with too much fiber as it takes a long time to digest and may cause an upset stomach. Carbs are important and depending on your workout you may want to add in some protein to stave off hunger as well. Some examples; half a banana, some greek yogurt, half of a fruit and nut bar like a Larabar, or almond butter on a piece of whole grain toast.  

After Your Workout:  Again, it depends on how long you exercised and the intensity of your exercise when considering what to eat when you are done. If your workout is under an hour and not especially intense, no post workout snack or meal is necessary. I know when I plan to run for 30 or 40 minutes, I love to run mid morning right in between breakfast and lunch, no special snacking required.  If you had a more lengthy workout and/or did strength training, be sure to eat a little something with healthy carbs and protein after.  Some examples, cottage cheese and peaches, Triscuits and cheese, almond or natural peanut butter on whole grain bread, or a handful of almonds and fruit.  Just don't overdo it!

Experiment with your pre and post workout meals and snacks.  Make sure you drink plenty of water and find what works best for you!  If you need ideas for healthy snacks, check out some of our favorite healthy recipes. 



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