What to eat for a workout

Do you know how to best fuel your body when you are trying to get the most out of your workouts? Read on to find some helpful tips…

Nutrition and exercise go hand-in-hand and it’s important to understand the basics of how to fuel your body before and after workouts or training sessions. First, let’s look at carbohydrates and how they are used in the body. Carbohydrates serve as the main source of energy for cells, tissues, and organs. This means the harder your muscles are working, the more carbs you need. When you are gearing up for a workout, choose the carbs! While it may slightly differ depending on the person, the ideal window of eating should be 1-3 hours before a workout. 

Ideas for a pre-workout snack: 

  • Apple and peanut butter 
  • Greek yogurt with oats and/or berries 
  • Whole grain bread with peanut butter or turkey 

When you finish up a hard training session, the main things to focus on are proteins and carbohydrates. Proteins help to repair and rebuild muscles that have been torn during exercise. Proteins connect your hard work in the gym to physical changes in body composition. Your body uses glycogen (stored energy) as fuel to push through workouts and this stored energy must eventually be replenished through carbohydrates. Eating a post-workout meal that contains proteins and carbs provides the necessary amino acids to rebuild muscles while also restoring the body’s glycogen. Try to consume your post-workout meal within an hour of finishing exercise. 

Ideas for a post-workout snack/meal: 

  • Protein shake/smoothie (including low-fat milk, fruit, etc.)
  • Low-fat chocolate milk 
  • Rice cake with nut butter 
  • Chicken and sweet potato 

Main points: 

  • Consuming carbs is important for keeping your body energized through a workout.
  • Protein is essential for growth and repair of muscles. 
  • Correctly timing your pre- and post- workout meals will maximize performance and promote muscle growth.

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