Men's Health: What Should I Eat Before and After a Workout?
The best pre- and post-workout foods.
What you eat before and after a workout is a crucial part of your workout routine. Not only will the foods you eat prior to exercising give you energy to complete your workout, but your post-workout meal will help strengthen your body and give you more energy.
For your pre-workout meal, I recommend eating one to two hours before you hit the weights. Your body primarily needs carbohydrates and protein with a very little bit of fat. The meal should contain about 250-300 calories and it should be fairly light. (You want just enough energy to see you through the workout, not weigh you down.)
Here are five of my go-to pre-workout snacks for a workout lasting one hour or less:
1. Smoothie with Greek yogurt, one chopped peach, and a few sprinkled chopped nuts
2. All-natural peanut butter with bananas or apples on whole-wheat bread
3. Blend together one ripe banana, one scoop of whey protein, and 1 Tbsp. of all natural-peanut butter.
4. One all-natural fruit energy bar (not a protein bar). Make sure that it contains no trans fat and is low in saturated fat.
5. Fat-free chocolate milk
A post-workout meal containing mainly quickly digesting protein and carbohydrates will begin the repair and rebuilding process of your muscle tissue. To get maximum benefits, this meal needs to be consumed 30-45 minutes after your strength workout. Protein shakes or smoothies are an ideal choice.
In addition to consuming the right pre- and post-workout foods, you’ll get the best results if you make eating right a regular habit. That means including proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats into your diet. Make a habit of eating mainly whole, natural foods with one ingredient, the food itself. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish are great examples. Try eating every 2-3 hours to help keep your body sufficiently fueled.
What do you typically eat before and after a workout?
Mark Dilworth, BA, PES, is the owner of My Fitness Hut, Her Fitness Hut, and Sports Fitness Hut. He provides long-term lean body solutions without gimmicks.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Daniel*1977