What to Eat Before and After your Workout

The following article is a guest post by Mathew Sawyer http://www.pharmas.co.uk. Please welcome Mathew from across the pond!

The 10 Best Workout Foods

Basically, your body can be compared to a machine. For a machine to operate, it needs fuel and the right kind of fuel. The same is true of your body—especially when it comes to exercising. Choosing the best foods for fuel depends on two key factors: 1) the type of workout you plan to do, and 2) when you plan to eat in relation to your workout. Let’s focus on what to eat in regard to cardio, aerobics, and light strength training, not anything hard core such as bodybuilding or mountain hiking. Extreme muscle building and long-term exercise call for different fuel needs.

First, it’s important to eat before and after your workout. Eating a small snack thirty minutes to one hour beforehand is best. A light, healthy, carb-filled snack before your workout actually increases fat burning potential and exercise performance. Not eating a snack usually leads to low blood sugar (consequently encouraging your body to store fat and eat muscle), and leaves little fuel for exercise. Additionally, avoid eating high fat, high protein, high sugar foods pre-workout. Those will likely lead to sluggishness, nausea, or a quick energy crash.

Here are ten good pre-workout choices:
• A banana
• An apple with or without a small handful of almonds
• Celery and peanut butter
• A serving of low-fat, plain yogurt
• An orange
• A piece of whole wheat toast with almond butter
• Carrots
• String cheese
• Berries with or without almonds or string cheese
• V8 Juice or Orange Juice—these are especially good choices if you plan to exercise right away but need a
snack

Once you’ve completed your workout you need to re-fuel your body. Exercise depletes your body’s store of protein and carbs. Restoring those stores encourages healthy muscles and regulates blood sugar levels. Eating a snack within thirty minutes of your workout should help you recover more quickly. However, unless you’re eating a full meal after your workout, keep this snack light too. Focus on eating high-protein foods combined with healthy carbs.

Here are ten good post-workout options:
• Low-fat, plain yogurt with a teaspoon of honey added or with fruit
• Turkey on whole wheat/whole grain bread (making it into a sandwich is fine)
• Low-fat cottage cheese with berries
• Oatmeal with cinnamon and low-fat milk
• Whey protein shake with low-fat milk
• High protein bar
• A slice of whole wheat/whole grain toast with almond butter
• An apple with string cheese
• Banana with peanut butter
• Chicken with brown rice

Many of the ingredients in these snacks can be mixed and matched. For the best results, the most important things to remember are: 1) your pre-workout snack should be light on the protein, fat, and sugar, and heavy on the carbs, and 2) your post workout snack should include more protein combined with healthy carbs.

Happy Work Out!

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Hi! I'm Heather: a body positivity, Health at Every Size dietitian. When I'm not blogging about wellness, I'm spending time with my fabulous family. Sometimes, they wear me out, so then it's time to bake, read, knit, tie myself into a yoga pose, or continue to work my first novel... stay tuned.