It’s hard to know what to eat before and after workouts. With all the carb-fearing myths out there and countless supplement ads promoting the latest 50-grams-plus protein powder, we’re often left confused as to how to fuel our workouts and avoid destroying our hard-earned gains in the gym. But I have some helpful tips to navigate pre- and post-workout nutrition.
Carbs are not the enemy
Your body needs carbs, especially before a workout to give you enough energy to have an effective workout. If you skip carbs, you might hit a wall, and your body could start breaking down muscle in an attempt to survive the deprivation.
Think simple before a workout
Simple carbs are easier to digest and are less likely to cause GI distress during a workout.
Pair easy-to-digest protein and healthy fats before a workout
Simple carbs, protein and healthy fats help give your body enough energy for a great workout. Some great examples of pre-workout, balanced snacks are:
- 1 small tangerine or clementine and a ¼ cup of almonds
- 1 cup boiled edamame
Pair major protein and complex carbs after a workout
Focus on getting protein to help your muscles repair and get ready for the next workout. Add in more complex carbs that are harder to digest so you can stabilize blood sugars and keep your energy levels balanced through the rest of the day. Here are some helpful ideas for post-workout snacks/small meals:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt and ¼ cup berries
- ¼ cup quinoa, 2 tbsp. hummus and ½ cup red pepper slices