To Snack, or Not to Snack: Pre and Post-Workout

by Mel on October 8, 2014

A long-debated argument has existed on the belief of pre-workout and post-workout snacks. Other questions for those that eat around their exercise schedules have included “How much should I eat for my workout, and what should I eat?”

 

The size, timing, and content of your pre-workout and post-workout meals and snacks are important to your energy levels during your workout, how well your body recovers and rebuilds after your workout, and whether the calories you eat will be used as fuel or contribute to your fat loss goals. Using whole foods to fuel your workout can improve body composition, strength, promote recovery and maintain immune function. These suggestions are based on a workout composed of 30-60 minutes. If you have a snack idea that works for your weight-loss goal, stick with it!

 

Pre-Workout

 

Most of the energy used while we workout does not come from food recently eaten. It actually comes from the carbohydrates and fat stored in muscles, liver, and fat cells. This means that if your overall diet has enough nutrients to keep your energy reserves full, you may not need to eat anything before you work out. This will force your body to use up those stored nutrients, directly contributing to fat loss. So, if eating before exercise upsets your stomach, or you like to exercise first thing in the morning, it is not a must. Just remember that if you are feeling low on energy pre-workout, you should eat a fruit before you start.

However, some people do have a difficulty working out without eating first, especially if they haven’t eaten in a while. These individuals are often more sensitive to changes in their blood sugar levels, which fall during the first 15-20 minutes of workout. This drop in blood sugar can cause symptoms of tiredness, mild dizziness, or even faintness. Eating something beforehand can help prevent this.

For those that have a better workout when they eat before working out, eat a small snack about 30 minutes before you work out. This snack should include fast-digesting carbohydrates and very little fat. This will help you to digest quickly and use the energy from that snack during your workout.

Here are a few options to consider when choosing a pre-workout snack:

  • Yogurt with almonds or whole grain cereal: This is a great combo of protein and carbohydrates.
  • Veggies and hummus: Hummus is made from heart-healthy chickpeas which is a great protein source.
  • Graham crackers with almond or sunflower seed butter: This snack is a great energy booster and contains healthy essential fats.

 

Post-Workout

Support your recovery with a nutrient-rich snack within 15 to 60 minutes after working out. Some great options include:

  • A Smoothie: Made with yogurt, frozen berries, and scoop of protein powder. This is a great option for those that do not have an appetite after workout out.
  • Almond/Sunflower seed butter on whole grain bread: Almond butter is rich in protein and healthy fats, both of which will help you to stay fuller longer. Be sure to prepare your snack with bread that’s made from whole grains, which will provide a more sustained source of energy than regular white or enriched bread.
  • Whole wheat pita sandwich with turkey and veggies and low-fat milk: Whole wheat and whole grain provide a better source of energy than white bread. The turkey and veggies are also great power sources to recover, repair, and rebuild muscles after your workout.
Mel

Mel

Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
I always look forward to expressive my passions in life to others and helping people make lasting changes. I live a busy life like the rest of us with kids, work, and everything else that can get in the way. Making time for exercise, and making good decisions about what we eat can often be a challenge. We sometimes lack the motivation and momentum to make lasting changes in our lives. I've been fortunate enough to really get my life in order and have some simple strategies to help you do the same. Mel's favorite product is Garcinia Cambogia 1234
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