Health & Wellness

What To Eat Before and After A Workout

By Tawnya Manion | March 21, 2013

Consuming the proper foods before and after a workout can increase the burn of energy, build strong muscles, and aid recovery from the wear and tear put on the body. Additionally, if you eat applicable foods pre- and post-sweat session, your blood sugar level maintains a more stable balance throughout the day and the immune system gets an extra boost from the blood that circulates out from the heart.

Exercising on an empty stomach causes the body to draw protein from the muscles instead of the kidneys or liver. As a result, the physique loses muscle mass instead of gains it. Furthermore, exercising on an empty stomach does not provide enough fuel for the body to produce enough energy for an intense training session.

After exercise, the body draws on the glycogen stores in the muscles, eating and/or drinking a balance of carbohydrates and proteins within 30 minutes subsequent to a workout refills the energy stores in the muscles and keeps the metabolism burning strong throughout the entire day. To decode the science behind how the muscles take in energy and gain maxim benefits from your workout, pursue these following tips on what to consume before and after your sweat session.

Eat a combination of simple and complex carbs before working out. According to Manuel Villacorta, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Simple carbs burn quickly, like paper, while complex carbs burn like wood and take a little longer to provide energy.” Whole wheat toast or a bagel with jam or honey fuels a workout from start to finish.

Time your pre- and post-sweat session snacks. Timing is everything when it comes to what to eat to fuel your workout. It’s best to take food 45 minutes to an hour before exercising and as soon as 30 minutes after it. Certain foods settle well and hit the bloodstream fast while others can make the body feel sluggish or cause stomach cramps. Impediments are more common after chowing down because exercise pulls blood away from the stomach to the muscle tissues.

Consume protein after exercising. A scrambled egg with toast, greek yogurt, hummus, or a chicken sandwich are great options for getting the extra amino acids and replacing glycogen stores. If eating after a workout is not your forte drink a protein shake to provide adequate amounts of protein and replenish the body.


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