What to Eat Before and After a Workout

Getting a good workout is more than just hitting the gym. Studies have shown that what you eat before and after exercise can improve your performance and recovery time.

Read on for tips and ideas for healthy pre- and post-workout snacks.

Low-Intensity, Short Workouts (~200 calories or less)

Low-intensity, short cardio workouts could include a short walk, easy elliptical session or slow jog. Low-intensity, short strength workouts could include activities such as yoga, low-impact aerobics sessions and barre classes. I typically prefer to consume snacks that are under 200 calories before and after these workouts, such as:

  • 1 hard-boiled egg and a small apple
  • 1/2 piece of toast and jam
  • Handful of carrots and 1 tablespoon of hummus

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High-Intensity, Long Workouts (300+ calories)

High-intensity, long workouts could include distance running, sprinting, spin classes, swimming, high-intensity boot-camp classes, heavy weightlifting, kickboxing or long bike rides.

For high-intensity workouts, I typically eat the same foods I’d consume before a low-intensity workout, but in larger quantities. Pre- and post-workout snacks for high-intensity exercise include:

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs and toast
  • Handful of crackers and tuna
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt and 1/3 cup of oatmeal

More Pre- and Post-Workout Snack Ideas

  • High-carb: Bread, oatmeal, crackers, rice, potatoes
  • Low-fat: Fruit, vegetables, energy drinks, low-fat yogurt
  • High-protein: Eggs, hummus, deli meat, tuna, Greek yogurt
  • High-fat: Eggs, cheese, whole milk, full-fat yogurt, nut butter

Remember, everyone’s bodies are different, which means there’s no set diet that works for everyone. Try a few different snacks before and after your workout and see what works best for you.

Consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.

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