Best Pre/Post Workout Meals

Pre-workout

Prior to a workout you need to consume foods that will fuel your body and give your working muscles the energy they need during your session. Simple carbohydrates, such as fruits, are the best type of food to eat before exercise because they are quickly and easily digested. When carbs are consumed they break down into glucose and enter the muscle cells, giving us the fuel we need for physical activity.

If you are weight training, it’s also important to add a bit of protein to your pre-workout meal. While lifting weights, we tear our muscle fibers. Those torn up muscle fibers heal and grow back bigger and stronger. To help with the healing process in between weight lifting sessions, protein should be consumed to help rebuild your muscles. Consuming protein helps your muscles heal and grow stronger faster. So if you are planning on lifting heavy weights, eat some protein with your fruit.

It’s also important to take timing into account when it comes to pre-workout meals. If you eat between 30 minutes to 3 hours before your workout you should have the energy you need to get you through your session. If you eat any sooner, the food that you ate doesn’t have a chance to digest, which could result in low energy, sickness, and/or cramps. If you eat any earlier than 3 hours prior to your session, then your energy sources may be depleted. You also want to eat a smaller meal before a session and a larger portioned meal to replenish your body after exercise.

With all of that said, here are some pre-workout meal/snack ideas:

  • Apple with almond butter
  • Celery with peanut butter
  • Fruit with a handful of raw nuts
  • Granola bar with dried fruit
  • Whole grain toast with peanut butter and a banana
  • Oatmeal with fruit

Post-workout

Eating after a workout is important so that you can restore the glycogen that has been depleted. Protein should be consumed post-workout for faster muscle recovery, along with complex carbohydrates to restore your energy levels and to keep you fuller longer.

Here are some post-workout meal ideas:

  • Fish or tofu over vegetables and brown rice
  • Fruit smoothie made with protein powder
  • Veggie omelet with a side of potatoes
  • Baked sweet potato, sautéed spinach, and chicken or fish
  • Quinoa, beans, & vegetable bowl
  • Hardboiled eggs and vegetables
  • Sandwich with hummus and vegetables
  • Sandwich with tuna and vegetables

Important note: Always make sure you are hydrated before, during, and after your workout session!!

Kylie Conniff; Bachelor of Science: Fitness Wellness, Psychology