Pre and Post Workout Meals are crucial to fuel your workouts and recover from them if you want to meet your physique or performance goals. But, how much thought do you give to what you eat before and after exercise?
Before you workout: You need to make sure you have enough energy to hit your workout hard, without feeling weighed down. Avoid heavy meats like steak and pork, excess fats, and foods high in fibre. You want your digestive system to have an easy job of putting your pre-workout food to good use. Save the heavier foods and fats for later in the day when you may need the extra satiety. Don’t forget to get plenty of fluids in, too, particularly if you workout early in the morning. And a cup of coffee might not hurt, either!
After exercise: The period after your workout is important for recovery. Whether you’ve lifted weights, done cardio or put your body through a strength and conditioning session, you need to give yourself the fuel your body needs to repair, grow and get ready for your next workout! The best post-workout meal or snack is one which combines protein and carbohydrates and, unless you have a lot of weight to lose, this is one time that you can get away with some less-than-saintly carb choices. We’re not saying go crazy with candy bars, but you can definitely work some cereal, a bagel or a healthier (home-baked) muffin into the post-workout window. Your muscles will suck it up and put it to work.
Here are some of my favorite Pre and Post Workout Meals choices:
Pre Workout Meal Ideas: light on the stomach but packing a punch!
- Scrambled eggs on one slice of toast
- Eggs and veggies cooked as an omelet
- Chicken or turkey with some veggies or salad (choose less fibrous vegetables)
- A protein shake or light smoothie combining protein powder and a carb source
- A small piece of fruit with a protein shake
Post Workout Meal Ideas: boosting recovery just when you need it!
- A banana and protein shake
- A powerhouse smoothie with protein powder, frozen banana, berries and almond milk
- An apple spread with nut butter, with some dried fruit on the side
- Rice, chicken/turkey/fish and lots of veggies
- A small baked potato with protein from meat, tuna or cottage cheese
What do you like to eat before and after exercise? Let’s share ideas!