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We Ask a Dietitian: What to Eat Before and After a Workout

Confused about what to eat before and after a workout to feel great, perform well and recover awesomely? Well, we tapped the smart foodie brain of Registered Dietitian Amanda Foti who counsels individuals in the areas of obesity, weight management and sports nutrition at Selvera, a personalized weight management and nutritional counseling company based in New York City, to get the answer!
what-to-eat-before-and-after-a-workout

What to Eat Before and After a Workout

Fueling your body with the proper nutrition is key for optimizing performance and aiding recovery, Foti says.
What to eat before your workout: You want to look for a meal that is high in easily digestible carbs, incorporates high bioavailable value (HBV) protein, and is low in fiber and fat. Carbs work to provide a quick fuel source for your muscles and the protein starts the rebuilding process immediately. A high-fat diet is associated with decreasing time to exhaustion. This means you’ll hit the fatigue feeling much quicker, if you’re fueling with fats, even the healthy ones. Fiber slows the digestion process, which is great for weight management, but not for quick nutrient utilization during exercise.
What to eat after your workout: This is where your body works to rebuild damaged muscle fibers and restore used up glycogen stores. You want to look for a meal that includes a good amount of HBV protein (eggs are best), carbs and electrolytes. Consistently drinking water all day is required to maintain a constant state of hydration. However, if you’re a heavy sweater or partaking in vigorous exercise, water is not going to cut it. Replenishing electrolyte levels is crucial to safe recovery. I always recommend BODYARMOR, as it is high in potassium and made with coconut water — and there are no artificial ingredients.
Get more advice on eating for workouts here (including recipes!) and then tell us: What are your favorite pre- and post-workout meals? I’m totally a sucker for half a protein bar before, and a protein smoothie after! —Jenn

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  1. Cari says:

    Can you give actually good examples especially for something that is “high in easily digestible carbs, incorporates high bioavailable value (HBV) protein, and is low in fiber and fat?” – thank you!