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What to eat before and after a workout

What to eat before and after a workout

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Running out of steam halfway into a training session ruins your whole workout. If you want to have better results from working up a sweat at the gym, you need to eat the right foods. It’s not just what you eat, though, but also when you eat it that will have you pushing on for longer. Follow this guide to fuel up the correct way before and after a workout session.

Dig into a Carb-Protein Blend

What to eat before and after your workout : dig into a carb-protein blend before your workout

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Although you always hear of the importance of protein when you want to build and repair muscles, pairing protein with carbs is a must.  It will give your body the energy it needs to complete your workout session. You want a mix of carbs: simple carbs that will burn quickly for a boost of energy and complex carbs that take longer to be released so that your energy can be sustained. Examples of adequate snacks are a whole-wheat bagel with jam or a protein shake with a banana.

Reach for coffee

What to eat before and after your workout: reach for coffee (yes, coffee!)

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Although you don’t want to have too much of it, one cup of coffee can improve your workout. It’s great to drink before you hit the gym because it will boost your energy. It also decreases muscle soreness after your session. However, coffee should never be a substitute for energy-filled meals before you hit the ground running as it won’t fill and fuel you up properly on its own.

Wind up your fitness clock

What to eat before and after your workout : Wind up your fitness clock

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Getting the right fuel for your workout is one thing, but you need to time your eating well so that your fuel works for you. It’s a bit like filling up your car with gas. You want to use the fuel instead of letting it go to waste because the car is running on idle. Try to eat within four hours of your workout, and then have a snack in the hour before you start. Base how much you should eat on how long your exercise session is going to last. If it’s longer than an hour, add in a bit more food to keep you going. Beans and lentils are great to help you achieve the slow-burn energy you need to fuel a longer workout, and they are high in complex carbs as well as protein.

Have a mid-session snack

What to eat before and after a workout: what could be more important than a little something to eat?

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Although it might seem strange to eat while you exercise, this is beneficial if you have a long and/or strenuous workout. A quick bite, in the form of carbs such as raisins or a banana, will help to fill your body with energy while helping you burn more calories. Protein consumption during exercise is a good thing as its amino acids are used during your session and need to be rebuilt, while carbs help to keep the body’s cortisol hormones low - when these are too high they break down muscle mass instead of helping to build it.

Replenish your body

What to eat before and after a workout: make sure to replenish your body immediately

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When your time at the gym has come to an end, don’t forget to top up on food again. Although you might think you don’t need the energy, the goal of eating after a workout is to replenish your body’s nutrients and reserves. You need to eat within an hour after exercise so that your body will use the food to recover and also store away energy. If you don’t eat within this window, your body will risk losing energy during your next workout - even if it’s the next day. It’s time to eat protein along with some carbs again, such as a salad with chickpeas and olive oil, a peanut butter sandwich, or a cup of quinoa with berries. Berries are also filled with antioxidants such as Vitamin C that have many other health and skin benefits, too.

Eating after a workout also helps you continue with your day without experiencing energy slumps. And remember: if you feel good and energetic after your workout, instead of tired and drained, you’ll look forward to tomorrow’s workout much more.

Eating the right foods before, during and after a workout will help you maximize your gym sessions so you can get the toned and healthy body you’ve always wanted.

What to eat before and after your working: Healthy eating doesn't have to be too difficult. Refuel the right way by loading up on protein and a mix of carbs. Remember to time your eating well so that you can recover, without experiencing energy slumps. Learn more from the PumpUp blog!

About the author

Gwen Lewis is a writer and makeup artist based in Southern California. Because of her passion for beauty and health, she hopes to help others not just look great but feel great, whether through makeup or her writing. In her free time, she enjoy shopping and pick-up soccer games with her friends.

4 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy on a Crazy Schedule | Healthy living 101

4 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy on a Crazy Schedule | Healthy living 101

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1) Plan your meals Plan your meals and make sure that your fridge is stocked with healthy options

Bulk shop, cook and prep on the weekend so that at least your breakfast and lunches for the week are ready to go. Having the fridge stocked with healthy options that are available for you to just grab and hurtle out the door will ensure that you stay on track! Put aside 1-2 hours on the weekend to get this together and you will be so happy you did!

2) Pack your lunches

Plan your meals in advance if you know that you're going to have a busy week.

Not only does this save time and money but it's also hands-down the healthiest way to eat! You cooked it, so you know exactly what is in it. While this is a bit more work up-front, after the first week of adjusting to this new routine it will become second nature!

Don’t forget to pack snacks too, you never know when the munchies will hit. Apples, bananas, cut up veggies or trail mix are the perfect portable snacks!

3) Break out the Crock Pot

Crock pots help you save time and eat healthy when you're on a time constraint

Image c/o Juan Calderon

Whether you are single or feeding an army of children, the slow cooker is a lifesaver! You can prep all of the ingredients the night before, pop them in on your way out the door in the morning and viola! You come home to a perfectly cooked meal. It’s so easy, I like to start with onions and root veggies on the bottom, then a nice piece of grass-fed meat, or some beans, some broth or diced tomatoes! The best part is that you'll have lots of leftovers.

4) Lean on Liquid Meals

Green juice is the way to go if you're pressed on time. Juice from the Village Juicery works like a charm.

Not so keen on green juice? Experiment with it first. Try either a warm blended soup or a smoothie to start your day off, and see how you feel. Many of us aren’t hungry when we wake up and that's because it takes awhile for your digestive system to warm up. Starting off with a liquid meal is a great way to ease into the day. You can pre-make soups and stockpile them in your freezer or blend up a smoothie with some protein powder, berries and greens for a nutrient-dense breakfast that’s easy to digest. Liquid meals require less prep and cleanup but are just as satisfying and healthy as your traditional breakfast options.

I hope these tips and tricks help you to stay healthy when time is tight!

I am launching my online video course next month!! Its called ‘Healthy Living 101’, and you can see a sneak peek HERE. Subscribe to be the first to know and get a FREE Snack-Sized Cookbook.

Meal Prep Tips for busy schedules

If you want more inspiration and healthy recipes, follow me on social media and check out my blog. I post daily goodies on InstagramTwitter and Facebook!

This is a post by Gillian B. Follow her on PumpUp @gillianb and connect with her on Facebook for more tips about health, wellness, and holistic living.