Eat Right Before and After Workout
Tips from Registered Dietitian

By Jennifer Smith, Natural Medicine Practitioner and Certified in Holistic Nutrition

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No matter you are a dedicated athlete or workout in the gym from time to time you definitely want to achieve some results. But just doing exercises is not enough! To stay healthy, maintain good shape and feel excellent, you must be aware of the correct diet before and after a workout - it plays a vital role! Proper diet boosts metabolism, helps to build muscles and overall affects your performance in the gym.

But what is the best pre-workout for men? Are the best pre-workout supplements worthwhile? Well, it depends on the sportsman and his/her specific needs. However, there are general rules for the best nutrition.

We’ve reached our dieting expert to figure out what makes ideal meals, snacks, and drinks for pre- and post-workout. Scroll down to know the top tips! 

The right time for pre-workout meals

The best time to have a pre-workout meal lies between 30-90 minutes. However, every human organism is unique, so it’s better to try different periods and find a suitable one for you. Just remember that you shouldn't still be digesting or already be hungry when you hit the gym. What does pre-workout do? It boosts your energy and maximizes your performance. So, choosing the right time to bite or drink something is crucial.

If you do exercises early in the morning, have pre-workout breakfast (light snack) 20-30 min. before training. The same goes for late-evening workouts.

The best pre-workout meals and snacks

To make your training effective you need carbs and protein the most. Carbs provide you with energy and protein helps to build muscles, so if you do heavy training (e.g., weightlifting) you have to consume a bit of protein. 

So, what are the best pre-workout products to make your exercises effective? Here is a list for you.

Bananas - it’s full of carbohydrates, which boosts energy, plus, bananas support nerve system.

Dried fruit - a handful of dried fruit makes a perfect pre-workout breakfast since they are a source of easily digestible simple carbs.

Greek yogurt and fruit - fruit is a source of carbs, yogurt is a source of protein. They make a perfect pair because fruits, rich on carbs, are fuel for your workout; protein from yogurt protects muscles from damage. You kill two birds with one stone. It’s better to choose Greek yogurt rather than an ordinary one, as it contains more protein. 

Whole grain bread - it’s a great source of carbs. If you add some boiled eggs or poultry, such a sandwich will make a great, full of protein snack. What is better than a homemade pre-workout?  

Oats - they are rich in fiber, due to it they release carbs gradually. So, you stay energetic longer and can train harder. But instant or quick-cooking oats are not suitable, they are processed and don’t provide you with those much-needed nutrients. Steer clear! Natural pre-workout is always better!

Chicken, sweet potato, broccoli -  this combo is rich in protein. Give it a try if you work hard in the gym to maintain a great shape.

Specific food for specific fitness goals

As we mentioned above specific fitness goals require specific products before a workout. Here is what our dietitian suggests:

For those who want to lose weight - oatmeal, whole-grain rice or pasta, dried fruits, fresh fruits, almond or peanut butter, multigrain crackers. You need carbs + lean protein 30min. before training.

For weightlifters or bodybuilders - oatmeal, pasta, rice, turkey or chicken, egg whites, fruits, the best pre-workout formula. Eat a small meal an hour before training - the equal proportion of carbs and lean protein.

For women - oatmeal with honey, whole-grain bread, and lean protein, fruit, greek yogurt, fruit smoothy. As a woman, you want to keep calories low but still fuel your workout. Keep a balance of carbs and lean protein with those products. 

Hydrate right

Don’t even think to hit the gym if you don’t drink water enough! You must be hydrated well, otherwise, it’s hazardous for your health. You definitely don’t want to feel a lack of energy or get muscle spasms and cramps. The best pre-workout drink is, of course, water. You must have 2-3 cups of water for 3 hours before training and 1 cup 20 min. before hitting the gym. 

Do not forget to drink during exercise, especially if you sweat a lot. By the way, coffee or tea don’t hydrate you, only water! 

If you have several cups of coffee a day and want to try the best keto supplements to maximize your efficiency in the gym, go for a pre-workout without caffeine to avoid negative effects. 

Post-workout refuel 

Drinking is crucial in the post-workout period! You’ve lost lots of fluid while you were training hard and sweating. So, the more you rehydrate, the better! 

However, eating after a workout is also a must. You need to fill your body with calories, protein, glycogen, and electrolytes. If you skip eating after training, you may end up feeling exhausted and fighting low blood sugar.

The best time to eat is 15-20 min. right away after training, especially if you exercised to the maximum; or have a snack, at least, and in several hours - eat a full meal.

Examples of the right food to have are a workout:

  • Pitta bread
  • Hummus
  • Nut butter
  • Trail mix
  • Cheese
  • Crackers
  • Yogurt
  • Sandwich with salmon or tuna
  • Sandwich with poultry
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Veggies
  • Green smoothie

Combine these products to get much-needed carbs and proteins. It would be ideal if you consume 150-200 calories. 

Pre-workout and post-workout are vital for reaching your fitness goals. Pre-workout stretches, getting enough sleep hydrating and eating right, using the best pre-workout supplements - all these factors munch the way to success.   

We hope our tips will help you to feel great and do your best in the gym.

What works for you best? Do you know any tricks to maximize performance in a gym? Share your experience with us below!

Author’s bio:  Danny Gonzalez is a professional diet expert and dedicated fitness instructor. He knows how to maintain a great shape and stay healthy. Danny often writes blog posts about sports and nutrition for Keto Supplement Pills. We can rely on his experience. When Danny has free time (that occurs rarely), you'll find him traveling.    

About the Practitioner

Jennifer Smith, BA, NMP, CHN, FBCC

Jennifer Smith is a Natural Medicine Practitioner, Holistic Nutrition Practitioner, and Faith-Based Clinical Counselor. She has a Bachelor's degree in Christian Counseling. She has completed advanced training in Functional Nutrition, Functional Medicine, Natural Health Consultant diploma, Biblical Heath Coaching Certification, Biblical natural medicine, and Biblical Eating and Clinical Nutrition. Jennifer has a virtual Natural Medicine practice in Naples, FL called Fx Remedies Virtual Care. 

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