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The 5 Best Foods To Eat Before & After Your Workout

Amanda Foti, M.S., R.D., CDN
Written by Amanda Foti, M.S., R.D., CDN

Nutrition and hydration are two critical factors that help you get the most out of your workout. To set yourself up for success, make sure you’re eating and drinking the right stuff before AND after you get your sweat on.

Try these snacks 30 to 40 minutes before hitting the gym for foods that combine easily digestible carbs (for a quick fuel boost) and a healthy source of protein (to initiate muscle recovery):

  1. PBJ on a wheat English muffin
  2. Greek yogurt and fresh berries
  3. Cottage cheese and melon
  4. Trail mix: dried fruit, nuts, dark chocolate chips
  5. Banana and almond butter

Post workout, timing is key. Be sure to recharge with plenty of protein and some form of carbohydrate within 20 to 60 minutes after you’re done. This will help the damaged muscle fibers recover faster and refuel your glycogen stores.

  1. Three-egg omelet with spinach tomatoes and mushrooms (or any veggies of your choice)
  2. Grilled chicken breast and baked sweet potato
  3. Grilled shrimp and brown rice
  4. Tuna salad on whole wheat bread
  5. Tofu and vegetable stir-fry

In a hurry and not enough time to make a meal? Grab a protein bar or shake! Look for whey-based protein containing at least 10 to 15g of protein.

And most importantly: drink water! It’s an absolute workout essential and should be maintained throughout the day to keep your body in a constant state of hydration.

If you try to throw back as much water as you can right before your workout, it's not going to effectively hydrate your cells and puts you at risk of nausea, cramping and other unpleasant side effects.

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