Fuel the Beast: Pre and Post-Workout Nutrition

Three or more hours before exercising you should eat a full, balanced meal with protein, fat, and carbohydrates to help fuel your muscles. There are a variety of different ingredients that you will need to incorporate into your pre and post-workout nutrition habits.

Pre and Post-Workout Nutrition to Fuel Your Exercise

Some ideas for pre-workout meals include:

  • Oatmeal with fruit and almonds paired with a glass of milk
  • Turkey Sandwich with whole wheat bread and avocado with a piece of fruit on the side
  • Yogurt and fruit with a glass of 100% orange juice and handful of almonds
  • A salad with low-fat dressing, whole wheat toast and an apple with peanut butter

If you eat two hours before exercising your snack should be mainly carbohydrates with a small amount of protein. Make sure to limit fat and fiber consumption to avoid indigestion and avoid processed foods.
An hour or less before exercising should be mainly carbohydrate consumption. This is the key to top off glycogen stores and prevent early fatigue. Try a sports drink, sports gummies or gel, a sports bar, piece of whole fruit or berries or a jam sandwich.

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Post-Exercise Fuel:

After exercise, your post-workout nutrition should focus on consuming a good serving of carbohydrates and protein to rebuild and replenish the glycogen stores in your muscles. Replenishing electrolytes lost through sweat is another factor in recovery which can be achieved with sports drinks or coconut water. Provide protein in your post workout snack to aid in the repair of damaged muscle tissue and to stimulate the development of new tissue.
Your window of opportunity to provide adequate nutrition is fifteen minutes to an hour after exercise. A snack or meal with a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein is ideal.

Snack ideas:

  • Chocolate milk, banana with peanut butter
  • Greek yogurt with granola
  • Smoothie with fruits and Greek yogurt or protein powder
  • Graham crackers with peanut butter and fruit

Meal ideas:

  • Whole wheat pita with hummus or chicken
  • Whole wheat pita sandwich with turkey and veggies, pretzels and low-fat milk
  • Brown rice bowl with beans, cheese, salsa, avocado and whole grain tortilla chips
  • Stir fry with lean protein, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots and brown rice