With spring right around the corner and lots of Cincinnati road races underway, you may be thinking about what to eat before and after working out.

If you plan on doing intense exercise for over 60 minutes, it is best to eat something that is digested quickly and includes protein as well as carbohydrate. If you work out (walk, jog, bike) for less than an hour, working out on an empty stomach will facilitate more fat loss. If you can’t survive without food, keep calories within 150-200 calories if weight loss is your goal. Also- be sure to drink fluids before, during and after exercise (at the rate of 8 oz every 15 minutes).

Easily digested carbohydrates are best to provide energy, without gastrointestinal distress such as gas and bloating. Avoid high fiber and high fat foods before working out (a burger and fries or bean burrito are bad choices)! Below are a few examples of simple snacks to have before your workout:

  • Yogurt with a banana
  • Apple and peanut butter
  • Low fat cheese and saltines (avoid whole wheat crackers)
  • Animal crackers and yogurt
  • Turkey roll up on a tortilla
  • English muffin with peanut butter
  • Trail mix with nuts, Cheerios/Chex cereal and dried fruit

After your workout, it is best to eat something within 1 hour to replace glycogen stores. Studies show including BOTH carbohydrate & protein improves glycogen- making your next workout easier. Also- remember to consume 2-3 (8 oz) cups of plain water after a workout to stay hydrated. Below are some meal ideas after your workout:

  • Black beans and rice (or quinoa)
  • Chicken & vegetables over brown rice or whole wheat pasta
  • Whole wheat spaghetti and meatballs
  • Low fat Triscuit crackers, 1 light cheese stick and fruit
  • Salad with chicken or fish and a side of potatoes, crackers or bread
  • Tuna or turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • High fiber cereal, milk & fruit
  • Scrambled eggs, toast and fruit

Finally, chocolate milk (you read that right) is one of the best replacement drinks because of it’s combination of simple sugar/carbohydrate and protein. Drink up!

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