When it comes to fitness, two of the most popular questions are: “What should I eat before and after my workout?” and “Should I even eat anything?” Before we explore the first, the answer to the second question is: YES! You should absolutely be feeding your body before and after a workout. Most people think you need to exercise super hard and only eat at meal times to get the most out of your workout. WRONG! By fueling your body with the right foods pre and post-workout, you burn the most calories, stay energized, build lean muscle, speed up your recovery — and even lose weight!
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Which is why we came up with a list of the best foods to eat before and after a workout — and why they’re so awesome for your next sweat session. Your bod — and tastebuds — will def thank you.
WHY YOU NEED TO EAT BEFORE YOUR WORKOUT
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Eating a snack before working out is crucial for two reasons. First, it gives you the fuel to finish your intense 45-minute Stairmaster climb. And second, you can actually lose muscle if you regularly work out on an empty stomach because your body is drawing protein (energy!) from your muscles rather than your kidney or liver. When this happens, you not only lose muscle mass, but you can also slow your metabolism, which makes it harder for you to lose weight.
WHAT TO EAT BEFORE YOU WORKOUT
A mix of complex carbs and protein is always perf for pre-workout. Here are some ideas:
- 1 slice of whole wheat toast with sliced banana and peanut butter (2 tbsp)
- 1/2 cup oatmeal with handful of berries, sweetened with pure maple syrup (1 tsp)
- 1 cup of greek yogurt with 1/4 cup of all-natural trail mix
WHY YOU NEED TO EAT AFTER A WORKOUT
During your sweat session, your body is using the fuel stored in your muscles to go hard. So, basically, after a hardcore workout, your body is tapped out and needs a snack after exercising to beef up your energy again, in addition to build and repair your muscles that were broken down while working out. Snacking post-workout also helps to keep your metabolism burning strong, which means, yes, you can eat AND lose weight. It’s important to note that the sooner you eat, the better it is for your body, so try not to go longer than 30 minutes after a workout to nosh.
WHAT YOU NEED TO EAT AFTER A WORKOUT:
A snack combining both protein and some carbohydrate is best to munch on immediately after exercising since they both help to maximize your results. Here are some ideas on an awesome post-workout snack:
- Medium-sized salad with 1/2 cup of lean protein (chicken, fish or chickpeas) and light oil and vinegar.
- Two egg omelette with 1/2 avocado and 1 cup of veggies.
- Whole wheat burrito with 1/2 cup of black beans, 1/2 cup of veggies, 1/2 cup of brown rice and 1 tbsp of salsa.
And the most important thing ever to consume post-workout??