What To Eat Before And After A Workout



Super Oats with hemp, chia, and cinnamon by Valerie Fidan of Let’s Regale – click image for recipe!

What you eat before and after your workout can make or break your time in the gym, your recovery levels, and how quickly you’ll be able to reach those fitness goals of yours. Yes, food is that important.

Ready to sprint to the gym (pun intended) and get your sweat on? Hold up.

What you eat before your sweat sesh can dictate your body’s energy, performance, and strength levels. Food is fuel, after all!

I recommend eating a meal 30-40 minutes before your workout, that way your body has time to digest and start taking advantage of those nutrients! Plus, did you know when you eat, your body signals digestion and the blood from your arms and legs will head towards your digestive system to start the process—this is why it’s recommended to give that time in between the meal and the workout so your body can do its thang. By the time you get to the gym, your body will be ready to put that energy you gave it to action! (and it can focus on building those muscles instead of digestion, ya know what I mean?)
Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of energy—ALL THE CARBS. Carbs in addition to a source of fast acting protein (think: protein shake!) can be the ultimate pre-workout combo.

Without getting too deep into the science, carbs give your body that long lasting endurance for a workout and provide that muscle pump we love so much! Sustained energy, perky booty and defined shoulders? Yes, please!
Enough of the boring (but important!) stuff— I feel like I see a lot of “you need to eat protein and carbs and fat!” Like, okay… but give me actual meal examples! HOW DO I PUT TOGETHER THESE MEALS?! Just give me the quick and dirty! Are you with me on that?

I’ll make it easy for you. Here is a list of my favorite pre-workout meals:

1. Fruit smoothie with protein–think blueberries, almond milk, bananas, chia seeds, a scoop of whey protein, and ice blended together

2. Slice of whole grain toast with natural jelly (no high-fructose corn syrup!) and half a banana

3. Oatmeal with fresh berries—add a handful of blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries (or all 3) Check out this recipe for super oats with hemp, chia, and cinnamon by Valerie Fidan of Let’s Regale! Soooo delicious, you guys.

4. Yogurt (I’m obsessed with noosa yogurt and siggis yogurt lately) with purely elizabeth granola and berries

5. Sliced apples + almond butter with little, dried cranberries on top

Can’t go wrong with the above 5 meals to give you the energy you need for your next yoga, spin, or weight training sesh!

For post-workout meals, the setup will look a little different and more “meal” like. After a workout, your body is in hard-core recovery mode, taking every last ounce of energy left from your pre workout meal and using it to start the recovery process. Because it’s recovery time, our bodies need all the nutrients to help repair our muscles and get them stronger for the next workout!

My favorite post workout meals look like this:
1. Salmon with sautéed red potatoes and zucchini

2. Ground beef with a whole wheat tortilla, lettuce, tomatoes, some cheese, and slices of avocado (**did she just say tacos are okay?! Yes. she did. Eat the taco. Make it at home so you know exactly what’s going in your belly.)

3. Veggie omelet with avocado

4. Grilled chicken breast, mashed sweet potato, and mixed veggies (veggies can be super delicious sautéed with olive oil, garlic salt, and basil. You heard it here first.)

5. Tuna on wheat bread with avocado and side of veggies or fruit (I’m personally not a tuna sandwich fan, but I know so many people who love this as a post workout meal as it’s packed with protein!)

I always keep a water bottle with me during my workout and will sometimes mix in some BCAA action in there for that extra recovery boost.

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  1. April 25, 2017 / 12:30 pm

    All great suggestions. I used to battle with this in my mind….wanting to eat something, but not sure exactly what.

    This look yum. Thanks for explaining the reason why, too.


    • elizabeth
      April 28, 2017 / 3:04 pm

      Aw yay, Alicia-Joy! I hope this helps!

  2. April 25, 2017 / 12:31 pm

    Smoothies are definitely my favorite pre work out meal. I stick with almond milk, vanilla plant-based protein powder, chia seeds, spinach, and then a mix of strawberries and/or blueberries and/or mango and/or banana … or all of the above 🙂 Also a huge fan of the homemade taco… i normally stick with ground turkey but omg that is def one of my go-to meals! thanks for the read!

  3. April 25, 2017 / 1:34 pm

    I love some overnight oats before workouts! 🙂 But I never know what would be good afterwards so these are some good suggestions. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Marfa
    April 25, 2017 / 1:56 pm

    Loved this! I am still trying to figure the “fit and healthy thing” out – those were great tips!

  5. Mel
    April 25, 2017 / 2:22 pm

    This is so helpful I don’t plan enough my before and after work out meals! Will be bookmarking this page for inspo!

  6. Mel
    April 25, 2017 / 2:22 pm

    This is so helpful I don’t plan enough my before and after work out meals! Will be bookmarking this page for inspo! Thanks for sharing

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