The Best Fitness Foods: What to Eat Before, During and After Your Workout

Posted at 6:09 PM, Aug 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-08 20:17:30-04

We all know food is important. But when it comes to exercising, making the right choices before, during and after your workout can not only improve your energy, but also impact your exercise performance.

What foods are best to eat prior to working out?

Food is the best fuel to help you reach your fitness goals.  Your body needs quality carbs, lean protein and heart-healthy fats.  Pre-workout carbs improves endurance and can help you enjoy your workouts more.  Protein supplies the muscles with amino acids for repair and growth.  Good food options are:
-Fruit and eggs
-whole-wheat toast with jam and fig bars
-Or a grilled chicken sandwich

What about during the workout - what's important to know here?

Hydration is very important because even losing 2 percent of your body weight in water can cause a drop in workout performance. A good rule of thumb is to drink roughly 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes when exercising.

What about after exercising?

Eating after a workout helps to replenish your energy stores and builds muscle.  Good recovery options are:
- chocolate milk
- turkey sandwiches
- toast topped with nut butter and a sliced banana

What are your prescriptions to help make your exercise regime successful?

1. Start your day with a healthy breakfast.  Otherwise you may feel lightheaded or lethargic when working out.

2. Choose nutritious snacks like bananas and nuts.  They can help maintain energy and nutrient levels.

3. Choose complex carbohydrates.  You'll feel full longer and they'll fuel your body throughout the day.

4. Don't cut too many calories.  If you start feeling exhausted or ill, then likely you're not getting enough calories for good health and fitness.

Is there a good time for when you should eat before working out?

Every person's gastric system tolerates pre-workout food differently.  Some people can eat right before exercising and other people need more time to digest their food in order to be comfortable.  I'd suggest trial and error to find the right amount of food and the right time to eat for you.