Ask Trainer Jake: Food Before and After Workout
Q: What should I eat before and after a workout to make it the most impactful on my body?
So you want to know what to eat before the workout to make sure you’re full of energy and top of your game, and you want to know the best way to fuel yourself after the strenuous work you put on your body? There are a few ways to go about this, so I’ll do my best to give you the quick basics.
First off, eating directly before exercising causes many people to feel sick. My advice is to get a feel for how hungry you are and to make sure you aren’t on either extreme (passing out from lack of nutrients or throwing up because you stuffed your face). Try to eat a meal 30 minutes to 1 hour before the workout. This will help you gauge how full you are, and if needed, eat a few more carbs as you get closer to your workout. Try not to get too full!
The baseline of what to eat before the workout is essentially just carbs. Whole wheat toast with bananas is a common favorite because it has both simple and complex carbs. This will give you sustained, long-lasting energy as well as a quick energy rush from the fruit. Any combination of fruits and whole grain will work similarly. Oats and blueberries, grits and apples, the combinations are endless!
After your workout is the most important time to get that food in. Your body is ready to take in around 4 times more nutrients at this point than normal so get a meal in as quick as you can. A good, low fat, protein source such as chicken or turkey can go great with a plate of vegetables or a spinach salad. The protein will help rebuild your muscles, and the carbs will continue burning as fuel.
If you are looking to shed a few pounds, eat a good source of vegetables such as asparagus, peppers, broccoli, or spinach. Add a few grain carbs like potatoes or noodles if the vegetables don’t fill you up enough. Portion size is key to not going overboard so keep an eye on nutrition labels as much as possible. If you are looking to put on a few pounds, increase your carbohydrate intake. Remember to keep it clean!