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What to Eat Before, During and After a Workout

bigstock-cute-black-woman-eating-vegeta-50974277We all know how important nutrition is for not only a healthier life but also a better, more productive workout (especially if you’re training for an endurance event). However, there’s a lot of confusion as to what you should eat and when. The good folks at Life Fitness are setting the record straight with some easy-to-follow tips that are sure to fuel your next workout properly. Eat it up!

Calories and What They Mean for Your Workout

Are all calories created equal? The basic premise is you need to balance calories consumed with calories burned to maintain a healthy weight, but the type of calorie you choose does indeed make a difference when it comes to fueling your body before, during and after a workout. Here are some quick tips from the exercise experts at Life Fitness about how to choose your calories wisely.

1. Prime your pump with pre-workout carbohydrates. The key to any exercise routine is setting your body up for success. The best way to burn fat is to fuel your body with adequate carbohydrates so you have the energy to work hard, burn a lot of calories and eventually lose body fat as a result. Choose a small snack (100-200 calories) prior to a workout (30 minutes before if possible) that can deliver carbohydrates quickly to your system.

Pick a healthy carbohydrate like:

  • A piece of fruit
  • A sports drink
  • Energy or granola bars
  • Oatmeal
  • A whole grain piece of toast with a spread of agave nectar

2. Stay hydrated during your workouts. Drinking water is fine for workouts less than an hour long. The rule of thumb is to drink approximately four to six ounces of water for every 15 minutes of intense exercise. Anything longer than an hour or in extreme conditions may require fuel replacement, like a sports drink.

3. Recover with post-workout protein. After a workout, for muscle repair and recovery, you need to refuel your body with a quality source of protein, the building blocks to your muscles. The best timing for these calories is within 45 minutes of finishing your workout and no more than two hours after.

Try a snack with a combination of protein and carbs such as:

  • Yogurt or protein fruit smoothie
  • Fiber cereal and milk
  • Hard boiled eggs (or egg whites) with a piece of toast
  • Peanut butter on bread
  • Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
  • Cottage cheese with veggies or fruit
  • Chocolate milk

Thanks Life Fitness for the solid tips! What do you eat before, during and after a workout? —Jenn

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